Iranian court spares life of former Marine
TEHRAN, Iran — An Iranian appeals court has overturned a death sentence of a former 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.
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 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 when Hekmati appealed, ordering a retrial in 2012. The country's Revolutionary Court then overturned his conviction for espionage, his lawyer Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabaei said. 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, Mich., 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 an American 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.
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 occurs as world powers continue negotiations with Iran over its contested nuclear program.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Israeli airstrikes kill 3 Hamas leaders in Gaza
- Chinese cultists on trial in eatery murder
- Peruvian nurse cares for 175 terminally ill cats
- Neanderthals, humans may have mingled, study finds
- Hamas insists terrorist leader still alive despite Israeli barrage
- Israeli airstrike kills 3 senior Hamas leaders
- Kiev allowed to inspect relief convoy headed to Ukrainian civilians
- Pakistani parliament nixes demands for PM to resign