American Amir Mirzaei Hekmati Sentenced to Death in Iran

American Sentenced to Death in IranA former United States Marine, twenty-eight year old Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, has been convicted by the Iranian court of working for the CIA. The sentence is death, which is adding the tension that is accelerating between Iran and the United States. The former Marine has served at U.S. military bases and received special training in Afghanistan and Iraq before he headed to Iran for his “alleged” intelligence mission. There was no report on the radio when this verdict was issued but he has twenty days to appeal under Iranian law.

Amir was a former military translator whose family is of Iranian origin, was born in Arizona but graduated from high school in Michigan. The man’s father claims that his son was visiting his grandmothers in Iran and that he is not a CIA spy. His father also says his son was working for Qatar as a contractor for a company that served Marines. As the United States announced their new tougher sanctions against Iran over their nuclear program, his train was taking place. Amir’s release has been demanded by the U.S. State Department.

The Iranian court has convicted Amir of working with a hostile country, trying to accuse Iran of involvement in terrorism, and belonging to the CIA. In the ruling by a branch of the Tehran Revolutionary Court they have described the former marine as a mohareb, which is an Islamic term that means one who spreads corruption on earth or a fighter against God. In Iranian court ruling both of these terms are often used.

In late December during a closed hearing the death penalty was asked for by the prosecution. The United States government as asked the Iranian authorities to give Swiss diplomats access to Amir in prison because the Swiss government represents the United States interest in Iran.