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Amir Hekmati is a former United States Marine, who has been held by Iran since August 2011. Hekmati, born in Flagstaff, Arizona, was captured while visiting his grandmother in Iran. Tehran has accused him of being a spy.
According to an extensive piece by Al Jazeera America:
On Aug. 29, 2011, 28-year-old Amir Hekmati was getting ready to go to a feast to celebrate the end of Ramadan with his extended family in Tehran.
It was the former Marine’s first trip to Iran, motivated, his family says, by a love of travel and a desire to see his aging grandmothers. That day, two weeks into his visit, Amir called up his mother Behnaz back in Flint, Mich. He told her how excited he was about his plans to see the family, she said, and hung up promising to call again later to tell her how it went.
But Amir never showed up at the gathering.
Worried family members went to the family home where he was staying and found muddy footprints, but no sign of Amir.
“They find out that his computer, cell phone and all his IDs, wallet, everything was gone,” said his mother, Behnaz.
That day would mark the beginning of more than two turbulent years for the Hekmati family. Within months of disappearing, an Iranian court would sentence Amir to death on charges of spying for the CIA.
Even as the United States is working desperately to strike a deal with Iran over its nuclear capabilities, Amir’s story is little discussed, or seemingly cared about.
Montel Williams has been tireless, and sadly, nearly alone, in his efforts to publicize Amir’s story. This past weekend at the NRA Annual Meetings, I got the chance to interview Montel. His passion about, and emotion over, Amir’s story, is very powerful to experience first-hand.
Why are so few people talking about this?