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      Family of ex-Marine in Iran sees hope of freedom

      31-year-old Amir Hekmati

      A spokesman for the family of a former Marine who has been imprisoned in Iran since his 2011 arrest on spying charges says they are hopeful for his release.

      Chris Hayes told the Associated Press on Sunday that 31-year-old Amir Hekmati's family in Flint is optimistic because of his new Iran-based lawyer and reduced charges in his case.

      Hekmati was arrested in August 2011 while visiting his grandmothers in Tehran. He was branded a CIA spy and sentenced to death before the country's Supreme Court overturned that conviction in 2012. The U.S. government denies he's a spy.

      Defense lawyer Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabaei says a Revolutionary Court in December gave Hekmati 10 years for "cooperating with hostile governments." Tabatabaei says Hekmati could be freed after serving one-third of that sentence.