Senators Stabenow, Peters Applaud Senate Passage of Measure to Free Amir Hekmati

Monday, May 11, 2015

U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters applauded the Senate passage of a bipartisan measure calling on Iran to immediately release Amir Hekmati, an imprisoned former U.S. Marine. Hekmati has been held captive by the Iranian government since 2011. Iran had originally accused Hekmati of espionage and sentenced him to death, but the Iranian Supreme Court threw out that charge and sentenced him to 10 years in prison instead. The resolution was cosponsored by Senators Stabenow and Peters and calls for the release of all the U.S. hostages being held in Iran, including Amir Hekmati, Saeed Abedini, Jason Rezaian, and Robert Levinson.

"Iran has a long track record of arresting Americans and using trumped up charges to hold them as political prisoners," said Senator Stabenow. "Amir is a hero who proudly served his country, and Iran needs to release him immediately!"

"In order for Iran to re-enter the international community, it must among other reforms, release the U.S. hostages they are senselessly holding in their country, including Amir Hekmati," said Senator Peters. "I call on Iran to immediately free Amir and the other Americans they have imprisoned and put a stop to these political hostage-taking stunts."

"For 1,351 days, our son, brother, and Marine veteran Amir Hekmati, has been held inside the walls of Evin prison," said the Hekmati family. "He has been imprisoned in Iran longer than any other American in history and, as of last Monday, Amir has gone on a hunger strike. Amir has committed no crime, yet he has been sentenced to ten years for cooperating with a hostile country, presumably because of his service in the United States Marines. Even based on Iran's own laws, his military service is not illegal, making his imprisonment arbitrary. While imprisoned, he has been mistreated, abused, and tortured. While imprisoned, our father battles terminal brain cancer. Time is running out. We need all of your support to bring Amir home now."

Amir Hekmati holds both Iranian and American citizenship and served as a U.S. Marine between 2001 and 2005.

The resolution is sponsored by Senator James Risch (R-ID). Additional cosponsors include Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Bill Nelson (D-FL), and Dan Sullivan (R-AK).

Congressman Dan Kildee (D-MI) is leading a similar resolution in the House.