Efforts to free Amir Hekmati remain strong

You would never guess from her quiet grace that Sarah Hekmati is a fighter - until you ask her about her brother, Amir.

Amir Hekmati, 29, has been in prison in Iran since August 2011 when he was arrested during a visit to relatives and accused of being a spy.

"It's just been a really, really tough time for our family,â?? Sarah described.

Sarah and Amir's father, Dr. Ali Hekmati, a professor at Mott Community College, is battling brain cancer.

Communication between the family and Amir is minimal. The family gets tips from prison insiders but Sarah said Amir has no access to his lawyer, is not allowed visits and months after his death sentence was overturned, his case has stalled in court.

That's where Matt Packer and Richard Thompson come in. Packer is a faculty member at MCC; Thompson is Dean of Students at Swartz Creek Community schools. Together, theyâ??re Brother 2 Brother, a performing duo.

â??There's an inspiration that transcends the spoken word,â?? Packer said.

Last September Packer and Thompson debuted a song "I Will Fly" to spread the word about Amir's plight. On Friday, April 19, they're holding a benefit concert at Mott.

Theyâ??ve also created an entire album of inspirational songs and prayers from family members. CDs will be sold for $10 each and proceeds from the sales will go to Amir's defense fund.

"The message is that people that he knows not of are with him, for him, praying for him, activating for him,â?? Thompson said.

The goal is to encourage people to join the fight to bring Amir home.

Until then, Sarah plans to continue to petition U.S. officials to put pressure on Iranian authorities and renew calls for due process.

â??I want Amir to know that we're fighting for him until he can come home. And that we're not going give up no matter what,â?? she said.

The benefit concert will take place Friday, April 19 at 7 p.m. in the Mott Memorial Building auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

Anyone wishing to help the Hekmati family and Amirâ??s case can visit