In Michigan
5:26 pm
Wed January 4, 2012

Family: Iran detainee needs better legal help

DETROIT –

The family of an Iranian-American detained in Iran for four months on espionage charges says he's not getting adequate legal representation.

The family of Amir Hekmati said in a statement Wednesday his "only advocate in Iran is a government-appointed lawyer who he first met on the day of his trial." The statement says the family has tried to hire "at least 10 different attorneys ... to no avail."

Hekmati's family says the former U.S. military translator was visiting his grandmothers. Iranian prosecutors say Hekmati was working for the CIA and could face the death penalty if convicted.

The 28-year-old was born in Arizona and graduated from a Flint high school. His father Ali is a professor at Mott Community College in Flint.

The State Department has called for Hekmati's release.