Archives for the month of: May, 2014
1000 days. Harrible milestone. Take the next few minutes and think about something that happened to you over the last 1000 days. Share it here. It really puts what Amir is missing, and how this has hurt his family.
I really try not to think about it, but I have little reminders in my life that help. One is the faded pink bracelet you’ll see on my wrist. A friend gave it to me, and it used to say “Persevere with Passion” 

She had them made, and gave them to friends. I would write, “friends she wanted to inspire” but this woman was a walking inspiration. Anyone who has an oncologist, and yet still lives the life she does is inspirational.

So I use her bracelet to remind myself to not just suck it up about Amir, but to do something.

I hope that I’ve qualified for that today, and I hope that you choose to do something. Write a letter, call the White House, set a google news alert for Amir Hekmati. Whatever it is, for this one day just give a crap in a way that will have a lasting impact.

That’s not too much to ask for a Marine veteran.

5:55 
April 11, 2014 Amir’s lawyer finally learns about the December trial, conviction and sentencing. He immediately starts the appeals process.
It seems completely foreign to our sense of justice that this could happen, but I have long ago learned not to get angry about things like this. I have to see the positive in this, which I do. It all seems part of a dance, with each side taking the required steps until the dance is complete.

Except this isn’t a dance, it’s a family’s life and well-being. I can control the anger, but I just want it to be over.

April 2nd 2014 Amir’s father suffers a stroke and is unable to walk. This message further motivates the family to pressure whoever they can to expedite their son’s release. The message has become distilled. It has been long enough; Free Amir Now.

Hopefully this added humanitarian impetus will help speed up Amir’s release. 

I lost my father suddenly, and I can’t tell you the pain I feel about it sometimes. I’ll see something silly that I’ll just want to share with him, like when Ellsbury did a clean steal of home against the Yankees, and my chest will suddenly ache.

I pray that they will give him that chance to talk to his father again. No son needs to live with that pain if it can be avoided, and it can. It just takes common sense.

 

 
Amir fires his old attorney and the family retains a new attorney. I am not personally aware of the details behind the firing or the qualifications of the new hire, but tell me you didn’t think of the scene in My Cousin Vinny where the other kid points at Joe Pesci and says “I want THAT guy.” 

again, it could just be my optimism leaking out here, but I have to believe this is a positive development. Every legal system is different, and they can be difficult to navigate without personal experience. Hopefully this attorney is more suited to where the Hekmatis are now in their legal struggle.

Amir is re-convicted on December 15, 2013. Neither he nor his lawyer are present for this trial and it isn’t until much later that he or his family are made aware of the new development. 
 
Personally, I saw this a step forward in the case, as it sets a baseline from which we can only improve for Amir, and it seems to indicate to me that this is something that the Iranians want to move forward on. 
 
I know that seems odd; a ten year prison sentence is never GOOD news, but I have to believe that it is just the opening step in the end game that will bring Amir home.
2:39
 
Sept 29 2013, Presidents Obama and Rouhani hold an historic phone conversation, and via Congressman Kildee, the family knows that our president mentioned Amir’s case to President Rouhani.

this is the first in a series of positive events that help to build optimism for Amir’s supporters, and also optimism for improved relations overall between our two nations.

 

September 11 2013, the Guardian UK publishes a letter Amir smuggled out to Secretary of State John Kerry.. This represents a HUGE risk, but he seems adamant to clear up some issues. He clarifies that his confession was forced, and that he is completely innocent of any espionage charges. He also clarifies that he considers himself a hostage.

It would be difficult to overstate the bravery this letter evidences, as he is completely exposed to ill treatment from the people about whom he is writing, and it could cause his living conditions to become much worse than they were at the time he wrote the letter.

Kerry acted immediately, demanding Amir’s release, although with the lack of diplomatic relations between the two nations, we have very little leverage.

June of 2013. 
 
There has been no change in Amir’s status for over a year. He is still in Evin Prison, and while not in as heinous conditions as he had been, the waiting and lack of contact is deadening to the soul.

I read an article recently about solitary confinement and it’s impact on prisoners. The head of Colorado’s Department of Corrections, as one of his first actions, spent 24 hours in solitary confinement. 

It completely changed his perspective on the practice, and the article helped to remind me of Amir’s situation. Like you, I have a busy life, and it is easy to forget about him in the rush of work and family. 

 
The Hekmati family doesn’t have that luxury, because Amir is an integral part of their life. In just this month alone, Amir’s brother in law finishes his residency program, his younger brother graduates high school, and his sister and her family move closer to his parents.
 
I’m sure his absence was felt strongly for each of these events, and sitting in his cell, if he managed to find out about them, they would have felt surreal to him. The brother who was Freshman or Sophomore when he last saw him graduating, the best friend and brother-in-law advancing in his medical career, and the sister who would have surely asked him to lend his help in moving her heavier furniture.
 
Think about the things you and yours have experienced in the last 1000 days. Something special happened. Come down and write it on the wall we will erect here in Lafayette Park, so we can celebrate life while remember a missing friend.

500 days in captivity on September 25th. 

This milestone is marked by vigils around the country, but unfortunately nothing new develops in regard to a possible new court date for Amir.

In September of 2012, two black events mar the Hekmati family’s life. 
 
Amir’s father Ali Hekmati gets diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. This represents further damage to an already suffering family.
 
Then-President Ahmadinejad makes it worse when, during a visit to the UN, he denies any knowledge of Amir’s case. This seems quite unlikely to be true, as it was covered extensively by Iranian state media outlets, and is one of the major issues between our two nations. 

What’s more likely is that it was a measured response designed to either avoid a confrontation in the States, or to in some way improve the calculus of the situation for Tehran. 

 
Any way you add it up, it is another blow to the Hekmati family