The Guardian reports: Amir Hekmati, a US citizen accused of espionage and jailed in Iran, has said his televised confession was forced and asserted that he is in fact being held hostage for use in a prisoner exchange and mistreated.
In a letter smuggled out of jail and obtained by the Guardian, the 29-year-old former US marine, who was arrested in Tehran two years ago for his alleged links to the CIA, said his confession aired on Iranian state television was made under duress and was used to implicate him in trial.
“For over two years I have been held on false charges based solely on confessions obtained by force, threats, miserable prison conditions and prolonged periods of solitary confinement,” he wrote earlier this month.
The letter, which has been authenticated by Hekmati’s family, is addressed to US secretary of state, John Kerry. Kerry urged Tehran leaders to release him from prison on the second anniversary of his arrest last month, saying Washington was “deeply concerned” about his detention.
Hekmati was picked up by Iranian security officials in August 2011, two weeks after arriving in Tehran from Dubai on a family visit. He holds both Iranian and American citizenship and served as a US marine between 2001 and 2005, at some point translating Persian and Arabic in Iraq.
In his letter, Hekmati accuses the Iranian authorities of employing “unlawful tactics” to keep him in prison with a view to swapping him for Iranian prisoners held in US custody. [Continue reading…]