DETROIT (WWJ/AP) - An art exhibition opening this week in Detroit aims to help build support for the release of a former U.S. Marine who is imprisoned in Iran on espionage charges.
Amir Hekmati, who was raised in Michigan, was arrested while visiting his grandmothers in Iran in August 2011. His parents live in the Flint area.
“The exhibit will provide insight into Amir’s wrongful imprisonment and be brought to life through photography, 3D art, political cartoons, paintings and musical performance,” organizers said in a statement. “The curators wish to share Amir’s pain with the world and illustrate how a man’s basic human rights have been denied.”
Iran accused Hekmati of being a CIA spy, then tried, convicted and sentenced him to death. His conviction was overturned in January, but he remains in prison and has limited contact with his family. No new trial has been scheduled. The U.S. government has repeatedly denied that Hekmati is a spy.
The exhibit “Jailed Humanity: In Support of an American’s quest for freedom from an Iranian Prison” opens Nov. 17 at 555 Nonprofit Gallery and Studios in the Detroit Police Department’s former Third Precinct station. It is curated by Amir Hekmati’s sister Sarah Hekmati and artist Manal Kadry and will run through Dec. 2.
555 is an appropriate place for the exhibit, they said, given that it used to be a police precinct. The city closed the building in 2005 as part of a department-wide reorganization, and 555 moved into its new home there earlier this year. The building has gallery space and studios, including jail cells with bars still on the doors.
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