Michigan rally shows support for ex-Marine held by Iran


By: Associated Press

BAY CITY, Mich. (AP) — Dozens of people attending a rally in Michigan have released balloons to mark the four-year anniversary of Iran’s refusal to free a former Marine from prison.

The helium balloons said, “Free Amir,” a reference to 32-year-old Amir Hekmati. He was arrested in 2011 and sentenced to 10 years in a harsh prison. The U.S. denies he’s a spy.

Rain suddenly stopped Saturday in Bay City as about 100 people turned out to hear remarks from Hekmati’s family, U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee and others.

Hekmati has family in the Flint area, including his father, whose health is poor after brain cancer and strokes.

Sarah Hekmati says she spoke to her brother by phone before the rally. She says he’s humbled by the support.