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Navy vet freed from Iranian prison ill, seeks transfer to US

Associated Press logo Associated Press 26/03/2020 By ERIC TUCKER, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Navy veteran released from an Iranian prison last week on a medical furlough says he is sick with symptoms of the coronavirus and is requesting a humanitarian evacuation to the United States for medical treatment.

Michael White was hospitalized Wednesday in a ward for coronavirus patients in Iran and has experienced fever, fatigue, a cough and shortness of breath since his furlough last week, according to a statement from Jon Franks, a family spokesman, to The Associated Press.

TEHRAN, IRAN - MARCH 21: Convention center at Iran Mall is being turned into a temporary hospital as coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic cases increase in Tehran, Iran on March 21, 2020. Expo centers, gyms are being turned into temporary hospitals in Iran as present hospitals ran short in fighting Covid-19. Among the worst-hit countries by the new coronavirus, Iranâs death toll has risen to 1,433, the state TV reported Friday. (Photo by Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images) © 2020 Anadolu Agency TEHRAN, IRAN - MARCH 21: Convention center at Iran Mall is being turned into a temporary hospital as coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic cases increase in Tehran, Iran on March 21, 2020. Expo centers, gyms are being turned into temporary hospitals in Iran as present hospitals ran short in fighting Covid-19. Among the worst-hit countries by the new coronavirus, Iranâs death toll has risen to 1,433, the state TV reported Friday. (Photo by Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

White, of Imperial Beach, California, “is an immunocompromised cancer patient and his situation is urgent," Franks said. White has been tested for the coronavirus but the results have not come back.

White was detained in July 2018 while visiting a girlfriend in Iran and was later convicted of insulting Iran's supreme leader and posting private information.

He is among tens of thousands of prisoners granted medical furloughs by Iran as the country tries to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

On Wednesday evening, former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson reached out to Iran on the family's behalf to ask for an immediate humanitarian medical evacuation.

“Not only will this allow Michael to receive additional treatment here in the United States, but it will help protect Iranian citizens from further exposure and free up their own medical personnel to treat their own citizens," the statement said.

Related slideshow: Coronavirus outbreak (Provided by Photo Services)

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