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01/22/16

Former U.S. Marine Released From Iran Arrives Home

Source: RFE/RL

A former U.S. Marine released by Iran last week in a prisoner-swap deal landed in the United States on January 21 after being held for more than four years in the Islamic republic, where at one point he faced a death sentence.

 

"I am happy to finally be home. It's been a very long road, a very long journey. Unfortunately, many people have traveled this road with me," Amir Hekmati, 32, told reporters after his plane touched down in his hometown of Flint, Michigan.

Hekmati and four other Iranian-Americans were released in a prisoner swap over the weekend. Iran announced their release on January 16, the same day that international sanctions on Tehran were lifted.

He was arrested in August 2011 on espionage charges that were dismissed by his family. He was originally sentenced to death.

An appeals court later commuted the sentence to a 10-year jail term. He was reportedly held in solitary confinement and subjected to psychological torture.

Asked about his imprisonment in Iran, Hekmati said "it wasn't good," but that his Marine training helped him endure the ordeal.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and NBC


Copyright (c) 2016 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org

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