WASHINGTON (CNN, April 12, 2014)- Former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati has been convicted in Iran by a secret court of “practical collaboration with the U.S. government” and sentenced to 10 years in prison, his sister told CNN on Friday.
The news follows a public campaign by Hekmati’s family to win his release from Iran, where he has been held for nearly three years under Iran’s claim that he was an American spy.
Hekmati’s attorney, Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabaei, told The New York Times on Friday that client had never been informed about the retrial, conviction or sentence.
Tabatabaei told the newspaper he learned of the conviction during recent discussions with judiciary officials. He then telephoned to inform Hekmati, who has been held in Tehran’s Evin prison, and with family members on the United States.
Hekmati, 30, has long maintained his innocence, saying he had gone to Iran to visit his grandmother when he was arrested in August 2011, and accused by Iran’s Intelligence Ministry of working as a CIA agent.
Days before his arrest, Hekmati called his mother from Iran to say he would be coming home soon. He told them he would leave two days after a final farewell party his Iranian relatives were having on August 29.
Hekmati never showed up at the party.