Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
FILE - This undated file photo released by his family via FreeAmir.org shows Amir Hekmati. Hekmati, a former U.S. Marine being held in Iran over the past two years on accusations of spying for the CIA. The semiofficial ISNA news agency reported Saturday, April 12, 2014 that an appeals court has overturned a death sentence of an American man convicted of working for the CIA, instead sentencing him to 10 years in prison. Iran charged Hekmati with receiving special training and serving at U.S. military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan before heading to Iran for his alleged mission. Hekmati's father, a professor at a community college in Flint, Michigan, has said his son is not a CIA spy. (AP Photo/Hekmati family via FreeAmir.org, File)
Ex-Marine no longer under death sentence in Iran
First Published Apr 12 2014 10:20 pm • Last Updated Apr 12 2014 10:20 pm

Tehran, Iran • An Iranian appeals court has overturned a death sentence of a former U.S. Marine convicted of working for the CIA, instead sentencing him to 10 years in prison, his lawyer said Saturday.

Amir Hekmati, a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen born in Arizona, was arrested in August 2011, then tried, convicted and sentenced to death for spying.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Iranian prosecutors said Hekmati received special training and served at U.S. military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan before heading to Iran as a spy. Hekmati’s family and the U.S. government repeatedly has denied the 31 year old is a spy, instead saying he traveled to Iran to visit his grandmother.

Iran’s Supreme Court annulled the death sentence after Hekmati appealed, ordering a retrial in 2012. The country’s Revolutionary Court then overturned his conviction for espionage, his lawyer Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabaei told The Associated Press. Instead, it charged him with "cooperating with hostile governments" and sentenced him to 10 years in prison, Tabatabaei said.

Iran’s Appeals Court "recently" upheld the verdict, the lawyer said, a decision that is final.

Tabatabaei said he is seeking Hekmati’s conditional freedom from Evin prison, north of the capital, Tehran. Hekmati has been behind bars since his arrest.

"According to law, if someone serves one-third of his conviction period and within that time, shows an acceptable behavior in jail, he can be entitled to conditional freedom," Tabatabaei said. "One-third of his imprisonment will end around September and October."

Conditional freedom could allow Hekmati to leave the country, depending on what a court decides. That could allow Hekmati to visit his father Ali Hekmati, a professor at Mott Community College in Flint, Michigan, who family members say has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and recently suffered a stroke.

Tabatabaei said a doctor treating Hekmati’s father at a U.S. hospital has sent him a letter asking the ex-Marine’s leave on bail to meet his ailing father

"We have requested that if the prosecutor agrees, Amir can go on leave with an appropriate bail so that he could go and visit his father," Tabatabaei said.


story continues below
story continues below

The Obama administration in November asked for Iran to free Hekmati and two other Americans believed held there, as relations recently have thawed between Washington and moderate President Hassan Rouhani. The call comes as world powers continue negotiations with Iran over its contested nuclear program.

A family representative in Michigan did not return a call for comment Saturday. U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, a Flint Democrat who represents Hekmati and his family in Congress and has worked to free him, said in a statement that releasing him would be "a tangible demonstration by Iran that it is serious about rejoining the global community."

"He is innocent and has committed no crime," Kildee said. "He is an American citizen who, with the permission of the Iranian government, traveled to Iran to simply visit his grandmother for the first time. He has been wrongfully imprisoned for 956 days."

Tabatabaei said he hadn’t met face to face with Hekmati, but remained "constantly in contact with him."

"His morale is good," the lawyer said.

———

Associated Press writer Corey Williams in Detroit contributed to this report.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.