Human Rights Voices

While the UN devotes its human rights operations to the demonization of the democratic state of Israel above all others and condemns the United States more often than the vast majority of non-democracies around the world, the voices of real victims around the world must be heard.

Iran, January 5, 2012

Iran detainee is not getting adequate legal representation, family says

Original source

Detroit Free Press

The family of an Iranian American from Flint who has been detained in Iran for four months on espionage charges said Wednesday he is not getting adequate legal representation. Amir Hekmati's family said in a statement that his "only advocate in Iran is a government-appointed lawyer who he first met on the day of his trial."

"We have struggled to provide Amir with an attorney in Iran," the family wrote. "We have sought to hire at least 10 different attorneys in Tehran to no avail."

Hekmati's family said the former U.S. military translator was visiting his grandmothers. Iranian prosecutors said Hekmati was working for the CIA. He could face the death penalty if convicted.

Hekmati, 28, was born in Arizona and graduated from high school in Flint. His father, Ali Hekmati, is a professor at Mott Community College.

The State Department has called for Hekmati's release. Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in Washington that the department continues to wait for Iranian authorities to grant Swiss diplomats access to him. The Swiss government represents U.S. interests in Iran because the two countries do not have diplomatic relations.

Nuland said Hekmati is a dual U.S.-Iranian national, and that "the Iranian government has historically not recognized our rights to access."

"That doesn't change the fact that we will keep asking for it," she said.

Iran charges that as a U.S. Marine, Hekmati received special training and served at U.S. military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan before heading to Iran for his alleged intelligence mission