The family of Robin Shahini, the 46-year-old Iranian-American that was detained in the Islamic Republic last summer while visiting family, is begging the U.S. and the Trump administration to take action get him out of jail. Shahini, who was arrested for comments he made against Iran online, has penned another letter to his family wondering why he has not seen the justice he deserves as an American.
“I ask myself and my fellow American neighbors: Where is the justice I have come to associate with America?” Shahini wrote, according to Fox News.
“This charge is unjust and the Iranian government intended to commit this wrong against me, an innocent American citizen, for political purposes. I ask of you, please to not let Iranian government use me,” he continued.
“I ask you beloved citizens and all human-loving individuals to not leave me alone and defend my rights, which is also the right of each and every one of you. Defending me is defending yourselves. Do not let me be alone,” Shahini pleaded.
Shahini’s girlfriend, Sevil, said that Shahini has told her that he is treated like “a terrorist” in the jail, adding that they call him a “foreigner” and an “American” in a “very insulting way.”
“He is a hostage because he is American,” Sevil told Fox News. “They see him as a hostage and they really treat him that way.”
“They are silently killing him,” she continued.
Now, Sevil is asking for the United States citizens and the Trump administration to take action.
“I am asking all the U.S. citizens and again the U.S. administration to help, as I think he is not going to last long with this situation with all health issues going on,” Sevil said. “I’m really demanding that the U.S. administration take action.”
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that “obviously we are aware of the situation and would refer you to the State Department,” when asked about Shahini by a Fox News reporter during a White House press briefing.
Last October, Shahini was sentenced to 18 years in Iranian prison for “collaborating with a foreign government.” According to The Foreign Desk, the dual-citizen was punished for blasphemy after he “insulted the revered” on a Facebook page and “collaborated with a hostile government.”
Shahini had been held captive in Iran since July after traveling there to visit his sick mother. On July 11th, the 46 year old San Diego resident was arrested by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard while at his mother’s house under vague circumstances, though it was assumed at the time it was because he was outspoken against Iran’s human rights record on pages across the internet. The 18 year sentence is among the harshest against an American this year, and analysts believe the punishment is a plan for Iran to bargain money from the United States for his release.