OTR Interviews

#FreeAmirNow: Marine's torture in Iranian prison revealed

Family of Amir Hekmati describe the torture and brutal prison conditions he has endured while being held in Iran. #FreeAmirNow

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," April 15, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Right now, the interview you will only see right here "On The Record." We went to Michigan to talk to the family of Amir Hekmati, our Marine wrongly imprisoned in Iran.

His family told us about the brutal conditions he faces every day inside Iran's most dangerous prison.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VAN SUSTEREN: When you found out that he was alive and in the prison with some, I guess, you know, that was good news to be in the prison. Were you able to communicate with him at that point?

RAMY KURDI, BROTHER-IN-LAW OF AMIR HEKMATI: No.

SARAH HEKMATI, SISTER OF AMIR HEKMATI: We were not.

VAN SUSTEREN: Anybody go visit him at that point?

S. HEKMATI: They were not allowing visitors.

VAN SUSTEREN: So, he is sitting there by himself in the Evin prison with no idea what's going on in the outside world.

KURDI: He has no idea what's going on in his own world. He is in solitary confinement. The one thing that people miss, I walk by rooms, whether it be a closet or just a storage space and I see a one meter by one meter squared area and my heart drops. It still does. Because I think they put him there for months. He had a 10-minute break a week, once a week to stretch his legs. And coming from thinking about what his -- does to his body to his mind, I mean, forget his body. Imagine what it does to his mind. And then you think who is he? What happened to him? What could have been done to Amir and who is he going to be when he comes back? And then we hear his voice and he talks to us and he gives us reassurance and he's reassuring us and then you realize what kind of grit he really was made of.

VAN SUSTEREN: So, January of 2012, does he have a trial or just gets a sentence of death?

S. HEKMATI: He got to meet with his attorney for five minutes before a trial. And mind you, a court appointed attorney. So, he was begging them for a shred of evidence to be presented in the court that is going to validate their decision to sentence him to death. They never showed him any of the evidence that they used to determine the sentence. From January until March, our family was in limbo, not knowing when they were going to hang him because they said this was basically how they go about with the death sentence.

KURDI: No due process. He had a file that they were referred to as his file, this evidence that may be held against him. No one has ever seen.

VAN SUSTEREN: How did you find out that he had been sentenced to death?

KURDI: We found out like you found out.

S. HEKMATI: In the news.

VAN SUSTEREN: The news?

KURDI: Yes.

VAN SUSTEREN: Who found out in your family, who saw it first?

KURDI: We watch every bit in it. We watch the news and every time we watch the news as a family we wonder what ripple effect it's going to have on Amir. Any foreign news any -- so, we're always watching the news. We watch multiple hours -- that's what we're looking for, any news breaks about Amir because that's where we get in all our information. That's how we found out he was taken as a spy in the interview.

S. HEKMATI: Plus because of the time difference I still remember that my -- we were awaken up at 4 in the morning because of the time difference there, I got a phone call saying you need to get up and watch the news. Your brother has been sentenced to death.

VAN SUSTEREN: What have you learned about his condition? I know I realized you determine about the solitary confinement which is terribly, you know, punitive but what about his condition?

KURDI: I mean, at what point initially?

VAN SUSTEREN: At any point, tell me about what's been going on with him.

KURDI: You know, initially when he was tortured, his conditions weren't just solitary.

VAN SUSTEREN: what's the torture like?

KURDI: The torture we heard of described by Amir himself was cold water, dirty cold water poured on the ground whenever he fall to sleep to kind of keep him awake. Lights on, day and night. Just to interrupt his sleep pattern. And these are just the smaller things. He was hung by his arm.

S. HEKMATI: Tasered.

VAN SUSTEREN: Hung by his arm?

KURDI: Hung by his arm for indefinite amount of time.

VAN SUSTEREN: For what reason, is to torture him.

KURDI: To torture him.

(CROSSTALK)

S. HEKMATI: He put him in that position for long periods of time. He had to endure the news that they had told him that his mother was killed in a car accident. Just the emotional torture of being told that and not having a way to contact our family to be told that and not knowing if that's true or not. He was drugged with lithium for a long period of time. And then forcibly, it was removed, so that he would have to endure painful withdrawal symptoms. And then, he was whipped on his feet.

VAN SUSTEREN: And was that been the whole duration or is that...

KURDI: No. Initially, we think it may have bit something to do with his confession. Having him confess or to.

VAN SUSTEREN: You are talking about that tape that he made?

KURDI: Yes.

VAN SUSTEREN: Which was just prior to the January 2012 trial?

KURDI: We believe his worst treatment was before that video, it was before his death sentence.

VAN SUSTEREN: Have you seen the video?

KURDI: Yes.

S. HEKMATI: We saw clips of it.

VAN SUSTEREN: How did he look?

S. HEKMATI: Amir looked very pale, very gone. If you have seen pictures of my brother when he was on the trip, he's athletic.

VAN SUSTEREN: He's a marine.

KURDI: Yes.

S. HEKMATI: He's very, very fit and he looked like he had lost and we found out he said he lost over 30 pounds. Very pale because he was in solitary and not access to light. And then in addition to that, it was just horrific to know that people may not know this but historically Iran is known for forcing people to make confessions to validate the imprisonment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)