Family of ex-US Marine held in Iran renews push for release

Amir Hekmati (AP Photo/Hekmati family via

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — Relatives of a former U.S. Marine held in an Iranian prison since 2011 say they’re traveling to Vienna to press for his release as diplomats meet to discuss limits on Tehran’s nuclear program.

In a statement released Thursday, Amir Hekmati’s family says his father’s health is deteriorating. Ali Hekmati has brain cancer and desperately wants to see his son.

Amir Hekmati, a U.S. and Iranian citizen, was arrested on spying charges in 2011 and sentenced to death. His sentence was later reduced to 10 years. The U.S. insists he’s not a spy.

The family in Flint, Michigan, says Iran could improve its international stature by releasing Hekmati, especially during Ramadan, a month of fasting and reflection by Muslims.

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