Parents of American ‘Spy’ Held by Iran Issue Tearful Plea
(NEW YORK) -- For the first time, the parents of an American who could face the death penalty in Iran for alleged espionage, have gone before a camera in a stirring video to speak about their young son and the suffering they've endured since the arrest of the "typical American boy."
"Everywhere I go I see him. His face is in front of me everywhere," Behnaz Hekmati, mother of arrested Amir Hekmati, says as tears stream down her face in the new video posted on FreeAmir.org. "I miss him so much. I miss him so much… [But] I keep myself strong because I know my boy needs me. I need to help him."
Amir Hekmati, an Arizona-born ex-U.S. Marine, was arrested in August 2011 while his family said he was on his first trip ever to Iran to see his grandmother. Iran accused Amir of being a spy, and in December an Iranian television station broadcast a "confession" from the 28-year-old in which he says he was sent into Iran by the CIA to become a double agent.
A day after the broadcast, Amir's father, Ali, told ABC News in an exclusive interview that the Iranian claims were "lies."
"My son is no spy. He is innocent. He's a good fellow, a good citizen, a good man," the elder Hekmati said then. "These are all unfounded allegations and a bunch of lies."
The next month, an Iranian court found Amir guilty and sentenced him to death. However, Iranian media reported in March that the death sentence had been annulled and Amir would be retried.
In the new video, neither Amir's father or mother mention Iran or the allegations against their son, but talk about Amir when he was a charming boy and describe the effect his arrest has had on the family.
"I am in very bad shape. I am just deteriorating every day. Every day I get worse and worse," Hekmati's mother says. "I try to be strong because maybe it's only me and his family... we are his voice. He doesn't have a voice."
Hekmati's father says he thinks about his son "all the time" and says he sometimes prays to dream about him, if only to see his face.
"Maybe I will share a dream of him," Ali Hekmati says. "I sure miss him."
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio