Amir Hekmati is an American and Marine veteran currently imprisoned in Iran. He has been imprisoned in Iran for over 3 ½ years. This is longer than any American has been imprisoned in Iran. Amir was born in Arizona and grew up in Nebraska and Michigan. He joined the Marines in 2001 and served as an infantry rifleman. As a Marine, he attended DLI in California. He served honorably during Operation Iraqi Freedom and was awarded the following decorations: Good Conduct Medal, Global War on Terror Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, GWOT Expeditionary Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and Combat Action Ribbon
In 2011, Amir traveled to Iran to visit his ailing grandmother. Two weeks into his visit, just days before he was to return home to start school at the University of Michigan, he was arrested at the home of a relative by Iranian intelligence agents. For four months, Amir’s whereabouts were unknown. It wasn’t until a forced confession, a tactic commonly used by Iranian intelligence, that it was confirmed for his family that Amir was imprisoned. In January of 2012, Amir was charged with espionage, waging war against God, and corrupting the earth and was sentenced to death in January of 2012. He was the first American to receive the death penalty in Iran in over 33 years. His death sentence was overturned by a higher court in March 2012, citing insufficient evidence and a new trial was ordered. Amir languished behind the walls of Evin prison, much of this time in solitary confinement, with his fate looming over his head. In April of 2014, it was discovered that Amir was tried in a secret, closed-door proceeding in December of 2013. Neither Amir nor his attorney were notified of this proceeding and were not allowed to present a defense. As a result of this hearing, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison on the charge of "cooperating with hostile governments."
Amir’s family misses him terribly and the need for him to be released and returned home is greater than ever. Amir's father, Ali, is battling brain cancer. As a result of this fight, he has suffered several strokes, leaving him needing around-the-clock care. He fears that he will never see his son again.