The friend of an American Marine veteran imprisoned in Iran on spying charges lashed out at President Barack Obama Thursday night, saying he was "disgusted" by his "lack of effort in getting him back."
Amir Hekmati has been held in the Islamic Republic for three years on charges that he was acting as a spy. The U.S. has called such accusations “false” and called on the government to “immediately release” him. His family said he was in the country visiting relatives when he was detained.
Speaking to Fox News, friend Marine Sgt. Gabriel Justice said the last few years have been some of the most "painful" in his life.
"Amir is not just a U.S. citizen, he's my warrior brother, a United States Marine," Justice said. “I am absolutely appalled, and I am disgusted with our president for his lack of effort in getting him back.”
[sharequote align="center"]“I am absolutely appalled, and I am disgusted with our president for his lack of effort..."[/sharequote]
President Barack Obama did recently call for the release of Hekmati and other Americans being detained in Iran in a video marking the Nowruz holiday. However, Justice isn't satisfied with those efforts alone.
"I don't think that a president that can sit back and watch any U.S. citizen, yet alone a veteran, a combat veteran who has severed honorably, deployed to Iraq, put his life on the line, came back and has a president who will turn his back on him for three years, allowing him to sit in a prison, get tortured, getting drugged, getting beaten and whipped and not doing anything is just beyond me," Justice said.
"Furthermore, adding insult to injury, moving into a negotiation with said country, sitting face to face with these people," he continued. "His accomplice John Kerry sitting at these negotiating tables playing footsie with Iran in Switzerland while Amir is sitting there getting tortured for three and a half years I think is despicable."
Former talk show host and veteran Montel Williams created an online fundraiser for Hekmati this week, asking individuals to donate to help offset the cost of defense efforts for his family. At the time of publication, nearly $5,500 had been donated.
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