Iran Seeks Death Penalty For American 'CIA Spy'

From The Telegraph:
An American man accused by Iran of being a CIA spy could face the death penalty, the semi-official Fars news agency reported on Tuesday.

In a closed court hearing, the prosecution applied for capital punishment, the report said, because the suspect, identified as Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, "admitted that he received training in the United States and planned to imply that Iran was involved in terrorist activities in foreign countries" after returning to the U.S.

The prosecutor said Hekmati entered Iran's intelligence department three times.

The report said Hekmati repeated a confession broadcast on state TV on Dec 18.

Under the Iranian law spying can lead to death penalty only in military cases.

The Fars report said Hekmati's lawyer, who was identified only by his surname, Samadi, denied the charges. He said Iranian intelligence blocked Hekmati from infiltrating, and under the Iranian law, intention to infiltrate is not a crime.

The lawyer said Hekmati was deceived by the CIA. No date for the next court hearing was released.

Hekmati, 28, was born in Arizona. His family is of Iranian origin. His father, who lives in Michigan, said his son is not a CIA spy and was visiting his grandmothers in Iran when he was arrested.

Ali Hekmati said his son was a former Arabic translator in the US Marines who entered Iran about four months ago. At the time, he was working in Qatar as a contractor for a company "that served the Marines," his father said, without providing more specific details.

"My wife tried to talk him out of it," Ali Hekmati said of the visit to Iran. "The first two weeks went without incident. The third week in Tehran, some people visited him and took him away. Nobody heard from him in the next three months."

He later saw on a YouTube broadcast of an Iranian programme that said Amir was "locked up" and accused of "being a spy for the CIA."

"I have no idea what they are going to do with my son," he said. "I'm worried to death. I love my son. I'm very sorry he's in the predicament he's in." He said he's working with attorneys in Tehran to gain his son's release.

Iran charges that as a US Marine, he received special training and served at U.S. military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan before heading to Iran for his alleged intelligence mission.

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