By Sandra McNeill

DETROIT (CBSDETROIT) – The family of a former local marine who’s spent the past two years in an Iranian prison is holding a fundraiser to help secure this release.

Amir Hekmati was arrested for spying in 2011 while visiting his grandmother in Tehran. His sister Sarah says her brother is no spy.

“He arrived in the country with all of his Iranian and American documents with his name,” said Sarah. “It was not some covert type of mission. If anything – if he went as that – he was very poorly trained because he was very transparent.”

“He went as a civilian, he was not enlisted as active duty. He never worked in any entity for that – he genuinely knowing that he went with all of his documentation,” she said.

The $250 a plate fundraiser is this Wednesday at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial.

“Often transitions like these can be hopeful and we are very optimistic we’ve heard a lot of good things about this new president and we are hopeful that this can be to our advantage,” Sarah said.

A Facebook post notes that Senator Carl Levin will speak at the event on Wednesday.

Hekmati says the funds raised will be used to continue a social media campaign to secure her brother’s release.

Find more information on the fundraiser -[HERE]

Free Amir Twitter @FreeAmirHekmati

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