Former Iranian prisoner and Flint native Amir Hekmati arrives in Michigan

Former U.S. Marine and Flint native Amir Hekmati arrived back in Michigan Thursday afternoon.

Hekmati, 32,  was being held for about 4 and a half years. He and his family arrived in Bishop International Airport in Flint at 4 p.m.

Born in the U.S., Hekmati was detained by Iranian authorities while visiting family and charged with espionage which he denied. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison, but that was reduced.

"I appreciate everyone's support," Hekmati said to a throng of assembled media at his arrival. "It's great to be back in Flint, my hometown. I love this city and I love these people. They have been so good to me and my family.


"I am happy to finally be home. It's been a very long road. A very long journey. Unfortunately many people traveled this road with me.

"But despite all the difficulties thank God and thanks to everyone's support. Everybody from the President, Congressman (Dan) Kildee, every day Americans I am standing here healthy, tall and with my head held high. I appreciate the support."

Hekmati and three other Americans were released by Iran in a swap with the United States.

Hekmati, along with Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, pastor Saeed Abedini and Nosratollah Khosravi, whose name had not been previously made public, were flown from Iran to Switzerland aboard a Swiss aircraft.

They were then transported to a U.S. military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, for medical treatment, U.S. officials said.

Iran released the four detained Americans in exchange for seven Iranians held or charged in the United States. U.S. and Iranian officials are calling this a major diplomatic breakthrough, and say a landmark nuclear deal appears imminent.

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