Community Reacts To Hekmati Death Sentence

A former Flint resident has been sentenced to death in Iran after being convicted of being a spy. Amir Hekmati is a former student at Mott community college. His father is also a professor at Mott.

But staff is being tight lipped out of respect for their co-worker professor Ali Hekmati.

They say the sentence came as no surprise to the family.

Mott employee Michael Kelly says, "They knew about this before it became a public story and they have been trying to make the connections to see what's going on."

The college is referring all inquiries to this family website. On it Amir's mother pleads for his life stating, " My husband Ali and I are shocked and terrified by the news that our son, Amir, has been sentenced to death. We believe that this verdict is the result of a process that was neither transparent nor fair."

But, at this point its unclear what judicial process if any Hekmati has gone through. Political professor and family friend Paul Rozycki spoke about the challenges the family now faces saying, " Maybe and its only a maybe there's a possibility that some international pressure might encourage the Iranians to issue a stay of clemency of some kind."

But ties between the U.S. and Iran are strained. Family and friends continue to insist that spy charges are absurd.

The White House spoke out against the Hekmati sentence.

A National Security Council spokesman also says they condemn this decision. They also say iran has a history of accusing people of being spies.