Benefit concert planned for Flint man imprisoned in Iran - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Benefit concert planned for Flint man imprisoned in Iran

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(08/19/12) - Nearly one year ago, the son of a Flint couple was arrested in Iran.

Since then, family and friends have been fighting for the safe release of Amir Hekmati.

Now, they're asking you to help as well.

Lending a helping hand is Matthew Packer, Mott Community College's choral director.

Packer became involved after attending another fundraiser for a co-worker's son.

Amir Hekmati is the son of a Mott professor.

"Aug. 29 will be a year. It's been a year since he's been gone. And it's not just a year of time he's been away at college, or a year he's been away somewhere else. It's a year he's been in prison, overseas," said family member, Bilal Kurdi.

In August of 2011, Hekmati's family said the former Marine went to Iran to visit his grandmothers.

His two week trip has now turned into a year. Hekmati was arrested and put in prison. The Iranians accuse him of being a CIA spy.

"It's a hardship that is already hard to carry on its own. And it's a hardship that's even harder with no news," Kurdi said.

In his first trial, Hekmati was sentenced to death. That sentence has since been overturned.

His family and friends are praying for a retrial. They say it's now a waiting game. "The latest is actually pretty much status quo. Right now we're waiting," Kurdi said.

As they wait, they're working hard.

On Saturday, Aug. 25, they're hosting a benefit concert for Hekmati.

That's the same day as another big event in Flint. "We actually have performers that are running in the Crim in the morning, then coming to do the concert in the evening, which is great," Packer said.

Money raised will help pay for Amir's defense. "The bills rise quickly with this kind of thing. It's not your average type of defense, so ultimately it's the generosity of the Flint community," Kurdi said.

The concert begins at 7 p.m. at the University of Michigan Flint Theater.

"The main thing is this, they didn't just want to collect money, they want to give something back to the community," Kurdi said.

Click here to go to a website with more information.

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