An American named Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, who previously worked in the Marine, was sentenced to death by an Iranian court for alleged spying. The court sentenced him on the grounds of espionage, working for the CIA as well as for making efforts of falsely maligning Iran as a terrorism promoting country. Fars, the semi-official news agency reported this on Monday. Hekmati was handed the sentence within five months of being arrested. According to IRNA, the state operated news agency of Iran, also reported the news on the English website it operates.
The parents of Hekmati were terrified and shocked by this news and claimed, in a statement, that the verdict emerged from a non-transparent and unfair process. They said that Amir had never been involved in spying as had been alleged and that his life was being exploited to gain political mileage.
The parents of Amir had appointed legal representatives for directly contacting Iranian authorities for resolving the situation that had resulted from a misunderstanding. They were praying to Iran to display compassion and not murder their son, who was an American citizen, who had gone to visit his relatives in that country, the first ever time. It was said in the statement that Iran has been denying the US citizenship of Amir.
Iranian authorities arrested Hekmati in August when he had gone to visit his grandmother in the country. Hekmati had served the US Marines between 2001 and 2005. Following this, he had set up a linguistic company and worked with both the military and civilians. However, Fars has claimed that Hekmati allegedly started working for CIA after completing his Marines stint. He had even visited Afghanistan where he accessed secret documents. Fars has also reported that Hekmati had acknowledged his working with CIA and was to receive payments for leaking key information to the Iranian intelligence ministry. If he had received the payment, he would continue to reside in Iran.
Human rights activists and governments across the world are strongly criticizing these secretive trials that Iran holds. The sentencing of Hekmati comes at a crucial point when there are escalated tensions between United States and Iran.