Saturday, April 12, 2014

Iran: Update--Three US Hostages Held by Iranian Authorities, Bob Levinson Longest Held US Hostage

According to Fox News and The New York Times, Amir Hekmati, 30, a US citizen of Iranian descent who is a US Marine veteran, who was charged with spying after visiting his grandmother in Iran in August 2011, was secretly convicted of “practical collaboration with the American government” and sentenced to death.

In 2011, when Mr. Hekmati was initially arrested, he was sentenced to death, although the charges were eventually reversed upon appeal. 

Hekmati's new attorney, Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabaei, one of the most influential  in the country, told the paper that his client was unaware of his newest conviction in December overturning his death sentence and sentencing him to ten years in prison. His client has maintained his innocence.

Both Fox and the NYT said news of Hekmati's new sentence came after a series of interviews at Tabatabaei’s office in Tehran and offers the first official insight to his legal status in two years.

Tabatabaei said despite the ruling, his client could be freed if the US agrees to release Iranian prisoners, the report said.

Mr. Hekmati also told Fox and NYT that his client has been a good inmate at the notorious Evin Prison. Tabatabaei  to get his client released after he serves three years of the sentence.

COMMENT: As a US citizen, I find it appalling that Washington stands simply by and has done absolutely nothing to sharply punish Iran for its  unwillingness to release Messrs. Levinson, Hekmati and Abedini:

Currently there are three US citizens being detained in Iranian prisons-- Saeed Abedini, a Christian pastor from Idaho who was arrested for proselytizing when he went to his homeland to help build a secular orphanage, retired FBI agent Robert Levinson and Mr. Hekmati.

Please see the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI link below:

http://www.socxfbi.org/?page=Levinson7Years&hhSearchTerms=%22bob+and+levinson%22

Bob Levinson, 66, is now the longest held US hostage in US history.

In February, the US State Department said US Secretary of State John Kerry met with the Iranian Foreign Minister and “pressed the Iranians to work cooperatively with us in out efforts to help United States citizens Robert Levinson, Amir Hekmati, and Saeed Abedini to return to their families."  

Secretary Kerry made no public statements as to the details of what transpired during his  discussion with the Iranian Foreign Minister.

The paper said news of Hekmati's sentence came after a series of interviews at Tabatabaei’s office in Tehran and offers the first official insight to the American's legal status in over two years.

Tabatabaei said despite the ruling, his client could be freed if the US agrees to release some Iranian prisoners.