For Immediate Release
STATEMENT FROM THE HEKMATI FAMILY ON THE NEWS OF AMIR'S HUNGER STRIKE
May 5, 2015
Citing the politicization of his imprisonment by Iran and the poor prison conditions in which he is being unjustly held, our son and brother, American and Marine veteran Amir Hekmati, has informed us he has begun a hunger strike. Amir went to Iran to visit his grandmother. He committed no crime by visiting Iran and he committed no crime while inside Iran’s borders. It has become increasingly clear to Amir that his imprisonment and the conditions of his release are being connected to the nuclear talks by some politicians within Iran. This is especially apparent when the Iranian Supreme Court was scheduled to hear Amir’s case until the nuclear talks were extended in November. Despite promises in December that his case would be revisited by officials within Iran, there has been no progress made and these promises have gone unfulfilled.
The conditions of Amir’s imprisonment have deteriorated in recent months. His basic needs are no longer being met. Not only is he housed with violent and hardened criminals, subject to blackouts of electricity, fed a diet of only lentils and rice, and has battled continuous infections due to no heat in the winter months in Iran, Amir reports that the little food they are fed is filled with parasites and his prison ward is infested with rats.
It breaks our hearts to know our brother has suffered through torture, abuse, and mistreatment for committing no crime. It hurts us even more knowing that he is risking solitary confinement for choosing to starve himself in hope that action will finally be taken and his case will finally move forward and he will be one day closer to coming home and being reunited with our family.
For decades, third parties were forced to act as intermediaries between the United States and Iran because no diplomatic relations existed. Even without diplomatic relations, previously held Americans did not spend as long in prison as Amir nor did they experience the treatment in prison Amir has been forced to endure. Amir has been held longer than any American in Iran in history. Amir was also the first American sentenced to death in three decades. We ask that as the United States and Iran sit across from one another, now communicating directly on diplomatic matters, that these two countries work diligently and continuously to bring Amir home to family.