U.S. State Department Calls for Release of Game Developer Held in Iran for Spying

The U.S. State Department has called on the government of Iran to release Amir Mirza Hekmati, a game developer who was arrested and already stood trial once for being a spy for the United States government. Hekmati, who has dual citizenship in the both the United States and Iran and served in the United States Marines, works for Kuma Reality Games – a game studio that makes games about real-world conflicts.

In a statement from the U.S. State Department this week, the U.S. government asked Iran to release Hekmati, citing his deteriorating health and concerns that his legal rights were being ignored. They also claimed that Iran refused Swiss officials consular access to Hekmati.

Hekmati admitted to being a spy, though most outside the country of Iran believe his confession was coerced through mistreatment or threats. He has been imprisoned since August of 2011, and recently an Iranian court overturned a conviction that would have led to a death sentence. The court said that there were "shortcomings in the previous case" and ordered a new trial.

"Today marks one year since Iranian authorities detained U.S. citizen Amir Hekmati," read the statement. "We are relieved that Iran’s Supreme Court overturned the death sentence verdict, but remain troubled by Mr. Hekmati’s lack of legal rights and Iran’s continued refusal to allow consular access by Swiss authorities, the United States’ protecting power in Iran."

"Mr. Hekmati now has spent a year in prison on charges that are categorically false, and he endured a closed-door trial with little regard for fairness and transparency," the statement continued. "We remain concerned over reports of Mr. Hekmati’s health condition in prison and urge the Iranian Government to release him so that he may be reunited with his family."

Source: Develop, image via CIA.gov

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