TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — A former U.S. Marine convicted of criminal charges in Iran after being accused of working for the CIA will appeal for a new trial after already seeing his sentence reduced once, his lawyer said Sunday.
Amir Hekmati, a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen born in Arizona and raised in Michigan, was arrested in August 2011, then tried, convicted and sentenced to death for spying. However, Iran's Supreme Court annulled the death sentence after Hekmati appealed, ordering a retrial in 2012. The country's Revolutionary Court then overturned his conviction for espionage, instead charging him with "cooperating with hostile governments" and sentenced him to 10 years in prison.
Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabaei, Hekmati's lawyer, told The Associated Press that he would appeal the 10-year prison sentence as well.
The remarks came on Monday's Memorial Day holiday that also marks Hekmati's 1,000th day in custody, and Michigan Democratic U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee said it is long past time for Iran to free him.
"During his captivity, Amir's father has fallen terribly ill with brain cancer, and there is no greater wish from his father than to see his son again," U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, a Michigan Democrat whose district includes the Hekmati family, said in a statement. "For 1,000 days, his family has also suffered as Amir continues to be held on unjust charges. They want nothing more than their family to be whole and in one place again. "Simply put, it is time for Amir Hekmati to come home."
Tabatabaei said Hekmati had handed his request for a rehearing to prison authorities.
The lawyer said he is optimistic about the possibility of a new hearing and lessening Hekmati's sentence since he has argued that the United States is not considered a hostile government by Iran's top security body, the Supreme National Security Council headed by moderate President Hassan Rouhani. Iran only considers Israel a hostile government, officially.
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