Former Marine Files Lawsuit Against Iran for Torture Accusations

Amir Hekmati / Free Amir Hekmati Facebook page


A former U.S. Marine is pursuing a lawsuit against Iran, accusing the theocracy of torturing him during his over four-year-long captivity.

Amir Hekmati, an Iranian-American from Michigan, was imprisoned on espionage charges in 2011 while visiting his grandmother in Iran.

He was released in January along with three other Americans as part of a prisoner swap between Tehran and Washington, D.C. The prisoner exchange also freed Christian minister Saeed Abedini, Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, and a fourth American, Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari.

In exchange, the United States dropped charges against 21 Iranians for violating economic sanctions against Iran. Some of the Iranians in the swap aided Iran's military, nuclear program, and terrorist proxies, according to U.S. officials.

Hekmati’s legal complaint accuses Iranian officials of subjecting him to "beatings, sleep deprivation, forced drugging, and psychological abuse," Politico reported Tuesday.

"Iran's despicable behavior was outside the scope of immunity provided by the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act [FSIA] and therefore subjects Iran to suit in the United States," the complaint reads.

Scott Gilbert, Hekmati’s attorney, said Iran’s treatment of the former Marine was "utterly contemptible."

"Amir can never be adequately compensated for his suffering," Gilbert said in a statement provided to Politico. "Our intention, with the filing of this lawsuit, is to attempt to provide at least some measure of justice for Amir and his family."

Hekmati was in the Marine Corps from 2001 to 2005, serving in Iraq as an infantry rifleman and translator.

After touching down in the United States, NBC News reported that Hekmati told reporters his military training saved his life while he suffered "inhumane conditions" in Iran's notorious Evin Prison.

Natalie Johnson

Natalie Johnson   Email Natalie | Full Bio | RSS
Natalie Johnson is a staff writer at the Washington Free Beacon. Prior to joining the Free Beacon, she was a news reporter at the Daily Signal. Johnson’s work has been featured in outlets such as Newsweek, Fox News and Drudge Report. She graduated from James Madison University in 2015 with a B.A. in political science and journalism. She can be reached at Her twitter handle is @nataliejohnsonn.

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