Society

Former US Marine and Iran Prisoner Amir Hekmati Opens Up About Torture And How He Survived

| by Sheena Vasani
Amir HekmatiAmir Hekmati

A former U.S. Marine from Michigan, who is one of the four prisoners Iran released on Jan. 16, has revealed details of the torture he faced while he imprisoned and how he pulled through.

In 2011, decorated war veteran Amir Hekmati was arrested when he was visiting his dying grandmother in Iran, where he was accused of being a CIA spy, FreeAmir.org states.

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The Daily Mail reports for four years, 32-year-old Hekmati was tortured psychologically and physically. He says his tormentors shocked his kidneys with a stun gun and even falsely told Hekmati his mother had died.

In addition, he was drugged and kept in solitary confinement, at one point thrown into cell so small he was unable to extend his legs.

Still, he stayed resilient.

“I didn't want to let my fellow Marines down and the reputation of the Marine Corps, so I tried my best to keep my head up and withstand all the pressures that were put upon me, some of which were very inhumane and unjust,” he explained.

Hekmati added, “Hearing about some of my fellow Marines supporting me really gave me the strength to put up with over four years of some very difficult times that me and my family went through.”

Before his arrest, Hekmati actively worked to promote good relationships between Americans and Middle Easterners. He was also involved in various humanitarian efforts, helping reconstruct schools and roads abroad.

Hekmati also worked as a research consultant and was going to pursue a degree in economics from the University of Michigan in 2011.

While it’s unclear what Hekmati’s plans are now, he is excited to leave behind his past and create a better future.

“I am well and I'm only going to get better, I hope,” he said.

He also says he feels “truly blessed” and is grateful for all the people from around the world and the American government for supporting him. He wrote on FreeAmir.org’s Facebook page:

“I am learning more about the grassroots support I received from ordinary people … I wanted to take a moment to thank you for everything you have done to keep my name a part of the conversation and for the kindness and support that you have given my family during the darkest period of our lives. God bless you all.”

Sources: Daily Mail, FreeAmir.org, Free Amir/Facebook  /Photo credit: FreeAmir.org