Monday, March 5, 2012
Iran orders retrial of Ex-Marine sentenced to death
Following up on a story I covered in January: Iran's Supreme Court has ordered the retrial of an ex-U.S. Marine who was sentenced to death on charges of working for the CIA, a news agency reported today.
The case has added even more tension to U.S.-Iran relations, as Washington and its allies press ahead with sanctions over Iran's contentious nuclear development program, and Iran threatens punishing retaliation if it is attacked.
Amir Hekmati, 28, was sentenced to death in January, the first American to receive a death penalty since the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran. Hekmati was born in Arizona. His parents are of Iranian origin.
Iran accuses Hekmati of receiving special training while serving at U.S. military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan before heading to Iran for an intelligence mission.
In December, Iran broadcast a video on state television in which Hekmati was shown delivering a purported confession, in which he said he was part of a plot to infiltrate Iran's intelligence agency.
The U.S. government has denied the charges against Hekmati.
Today, the semi-official Isna news agency said the case would be retried.
The report quoted state prosecutor Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehei as saying, "There was an appeal on his verdict. The Supreme Court found shortcomings in the case and sent it for review by an equivalent branch" of in the court system.
The report did not elaborate.