Amir Hekmati has returned to Mid-Michigan

A former Marine who was imprisoned by Iran on suspicion of spying is seeking payment from a fund intended for victims of state-sponsored terrorism.

Attorney Scott Gilbert says he filed the lawsuit Monday in federal claims court on behalf of Amir Hekmati.

Hekmati was born in Arizona and raised in Michigan. He was detained in 2011 and released in 2016 in a prisoner exchange. Hekmati alleges he was falsely imprisoned and tortured.

A federal judge ruled in 2017 that Iran must pay Hekmati $63.5 million.

Gilbert says the U.S. Victims of State-Sponsored Terrorism Fund has refused to pay compensation. The Justice Department said in October that it was suspending payment and asking the fund's administrator to reconsider if he's eligible.

The Justice Department declined to comment Monday on the lawsuit.

“Marine veteran Amir Hekmati spent nearly 5 years as a political prisoner in Iran. Thus, I am committed to supporting him as he works to move on from this horrible experience. And I call on the Justice Department to provide all appropriate information to Amir and his attorney regarding the status of these payments,” Congressman Dan Kildee said in a statement.

Copyright 2019 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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