Family of imprisoned Flint-native, Amir Hekmati, holds vigil, pr - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Family of imprisoned Flint-native, Amir Hekmati, holds vigil, prays for his return from Iran

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FLINT (WJRT) -

(09/25/12) - It's been more than a year since Amir Hekmati was taken prisoner in Iran, and his family is still struggling to bring him home.

The Flint-native was accused of being a CIA spy last August, and he's been held captive ever since. Tuesday, a new development had his family even more desperate to bring him home quickly.

Amir's father is in the hospital and he's not doing very well, putting more urgency on this situation.

"Cherish your family, your sons, your daughters, your parents, I'm telling you, in a year everything was normal and it's completely different," said Sarah Hekmati, Amir's sister.

Tuesday evening, family and the community came out to support Amir. They lit candles and prayed for his safe return home.

His family says Amir was in Iran visiting his grandmothers when he disappeared.

The Iranian government accused him of spying for the CIA and he's since been sentenced to death, but that's been overturned.

"He's just sitting in a cell not knowing what's going on with no contact to the outside world, we understand he's been in solitary confinement, we don't know what his conditions are," Sarah said.

And to make the situation even more dire, the family says Amir's father, Ali, suffered a stroke and had surgery for a brain tumor. Ali is a professor at Mott Community College, and he wants to see his son before it's too late.

"We hope if the Iranian authorities that are here have any mercy, any compassion, they see what we're going through, we've suffered a year of unknowns," Sarah said.

The President of Iran will be in New York on Wednesday.

The family is hoping to round up support through their Facebook page, called "Free Amir Hekmati."

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