In a shocking turn of events, Iran's highest court has overturned the conviction of alleged American spy Amir Mirza Hekmati, ruling that his death sentence cannot stand because it found "shortcomings" in his case.
Amir Mirza Hekmati, who is assumed to work for game developer Kuma Reality Games, was accused by the Iranian government of spying for the CIA. He was subsequently convicted of the crime and sentenced to death. Iranian prosecutors also alleged that Hekmati was training at US bases in Afghanistan and Iraq prior to being deployed into Iran.
An appeal of his case was finally heard by the Iranian Supreme Court, who ordered that his conviction be overturned and that he be given a new trial. Some of this might have to do with the fact that Amir Mirza Hekmati is a dual American-Iranian citizen. Amir Mirza Hekmati also served in the Marines. A confession where he admitted to being a CIA Spy was recorded in December, but many assume that it was under duress.
"There were objections to the verdict by the Supreme Court," said judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei in a news conference in Tehran, as reported by the Isna news agency. "The Supreme Court found shortcomings in the case and sent it for review by an affiliate court."
A date for a retrial has not been set.
The U.S. State Department has been demanding the release of Amir Mirza Hekmati since he was arrested.