Amir Mirza Hekmati

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Amir Hekmati
Amir Mirza Hekmati USMC.png
Amir Hekmati
Native name امیر میرزایی حکمتی
Birth name Amir Mirza Hekmati
Born (1983-07-28) July 28, 1983 (age 32)
Flagstaff, Arizona, U.S.
Allegiance  United States of America[1][2]
Service/branch  United States Marine Corps[1][2]
Years of service 2001-2005[N 1][2]
Rank USMC-E5.svg Sergeant[1][2]
Unit 1st Marine Division[2]

Iraq War[1][2]

Awards Combat Action Ribbon.svg Combat Action Ribbon[2]
Marine Corps Good Conduct ribbon.svg Good Conduct Medal[2]
National Defense Service Medal ribbon.svg National Defense Service Medal[2]
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary ribbon.svg Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal[2]
Global War on Terrorism Service ribbon.svg Global War on Terrorism Service Medal[2]
Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.svg Sea Service Deployment Ribbon[2]
Relations Behnaz Hekmati (mother)[3]
Ali Hekmati (father)[4][5]
Sarah Hekmati (sister)[1]
Other work BAE Systems
Kuma Reality Games
Lucid Linguistics, LLC
Signature Signature of Amir Hekmati.png

Amir Mirza Hekmati (born July 28, 1983) is a former United States Marine who was arrested for allegedly spying for the CIA in Iran. On 9 January 2012, he was sentenced to death on account of the charges.[6][7][8] On 5 March 2012, the Iranian Supreme Court overturned the death sentence, and ordered a retrial. The judges had found the verdict against Hekmati was "not complete" and referred his case to an affiliate court.[9] According to media reports, Hekmati is still in prison awaiting a retrial.[10]

Early life and education[edit]

Hekmati was born in Flagstaff, Arizona in 1983.[11] He spent several years in Nebraska before his father, Ali Hekmati, became a professor of microbiology at Mott Community College in Flint, Michigan.[4][5] Hekmati graduated from Flint Central High School in 2001, where he participated in the Naval Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps. He then enlisted in the United States Marine Corps.[citation needed]


Hekmati's DD Form 2 reserve identification card.

Hekmati served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 20 August 2001 to 19 August 2005, when he was discharged as a sergeant.[5][1][2] He completed recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, followed by the School of Infantry at Camp Pendleton, California. He was awarded the Combat Action Ribbon while deployed as a translator in Iraq, but he received no military intelligence training.[12][13]

After his discharge, Hekmati founded Lucid Linguistics LLC in February 2006 and worked as a military contractor translating Arabic and Persian.[13][14] Between 2005 and 2007 he is alleged to have worked on a report on two-way translation systems published by Mitre Corporation for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).[13][15] He is cited in the "Acknowledgements" section of Applying Automated Metrics to Speech Translation Dialogs, a paper published by the MITRE Corporation.[16][17] He was later employed Kuma Reality Games on a language-learning video game for the United States Department of Defense.[18]

Between March and September 2010 Hekmati worked in Kansas for BAE Systems, a multinational defense contractor.[19][20] Hekmati worked in Iraq between September 2010 and May 2011 as a culture and language expert.[13][21] According to his parents, Ali and Behnaz Hekmati of Flint, Michigan, Hekmati travelled to Iran after obtaining permission from the Iranian Interests Section of the Embassy of Pakistan in Washington, D.C.[22][23]

Espionage arrest and trial[edit]

In August 2011, Hekmati was arrested while visiting his grandmother and other relatives in Iran.[22] Hekmati allegedly entered Iran from Bagram Airfield via Dubai.[24] On 18 December 2011, a confession by Hekmati appeared on Iranian state television and stated that he had infiltrated Iran in order to establish a CIA presence in the country.[25] His family claim he was coerced into making it,[22] and that he was not a spy.[2] The family is represented by a U.S. Attorney former Ambassador at Large Pierre-Richard Prosper.[26][27]

Iran alleges that Hekmati's mission was to implicate the country in state-sponsored terrorist activities.[6] On 24 December 2011, Switzerland, which manages diplomatic relations between Iran and the United States, applied for consular access to Hekmati. It was denied.[28] In his confession, Hekmati stated that his mission pertained to maintaining a presence, rather than undermining the integrity of the country.[29] According to excerpts from his alleged confession published in the Tehran Times, Hekmati revealed that he worked for Kuma Reality Games, which was allegedly paid by the CIA to design movies and video games to give the customers a distasteful impression of the Middle East.[30]

Iranian officials claim that Hekmati underwent intelligence training after joining the U.S. military in 2001.[7] They say he worked for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency between 2005 and 2007. Shortly before his mission to Iran, they claim he prepared at Bagram Airfield. An Iranian official attributed his recognition and capture to "Iranian networks monitoring activities in the Bagram base".

Hekmati has an Iranian lawyer identified only by the surname Samadi.[31] On 9 January 2012, Iran's Revolutionary Court declared Hekmati to be "Corrupt on Earth (Mofsed-e-filarz) and Mohareb" (English: an enemy of God). It sentenced him to death for cooperating with the United States.[6]

Death sentence annulled[edit]

On 5 March 2012, Iran’s Supreme Court overturned the death sentence and ordered a retrial. The judges said they found that the verdict against Hekmati was "not complete" and referred his case to an affiliate court.[9][32] Hekmati awaited a retrial[10] until April 2014, when his sister announced that a secret court of "practical collaboration with the U.S. government" had convicted him again and sentenced him to 10 years in prison.[33]

United States Senate Calls For Release[edit]

On May 11, 2015, the United States Senate by a bipartisan vote 90-0, called for Iran to immediately release Amir Hekmati. Shown Here: Passed Senate without amendment (05/11/2015) (This measure has not been amended since it was introduced. The summary of that version is repeated here.) States that it is U.S. policy that: (1) the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran should immediately release Saeed Abedini, Amir Hekmati, and Jason Rezaian, and cooperate with the U.S. government to locate and return Robert Levinson; and (2) the U.S. government should undertake every effort using every diplomatic tool at its disposal to secure their release.[34]

Awards and decorations[edit]

1st Row
Combat Action Ribbon[2]
Good Conduct Medal[2]
National Defense Service Medal[2]
2nd Row
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal[2]
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal[2]
Sea Service Deployment Ribbon[2]


  1. ^ According to his official U.S. Marine Corps service record, Hekmati served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 20 August 2001 to 19 August 2005.
  2. ^ According to his official U.S. Marine Corps service record, Hekmati served in Operation Iraqi Freedom from 1 April 2004 to 25 September 2004.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Harkins, Gina (17 May 2013). "Iran holds former Marine for almost 2 years: Dad sick with cancer, family seeks release". Military Times. Gannett Company, Inc. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Harris, David (9 January 2012). "U.S. Marine Corps releases Amir Hekmati's service record". The Flint Journal. MLive. Retrieved 11 November 2013. 
  3. ^ Ferran, Lee (22 February 2012). "Mom Visits Amir Hekmati, Former US Marine Sentenced to Death in Iran: Convicted of Espionage, 28-Year-Old Appeared Thin and Shocked on Death Row, Mom Says". ABC News. ABC News Internet Ventures. Retrieved 20 April 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Adams, Dominic (25 September 2012). "Vigil for Amir Hekmati tonight at Mott". The Flint Journal. Retrieved 25 September 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c Anderson, Elisha (25 September 2012). "Flint family has message for Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: Let our son out of prison". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 25 September 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c "Iran sentences US man to death for spying". MSNBC. 2012-01-09.  mirror
  7. ^ a b Marc Burleigh (18 December 2011). "Iran TV shows 'CIA spy' speaking of alleged mission". Agence France Presse. Retrieved 2012-01-09. "It was their plan to first burn some useful information, give it to them (the Iranians) and let the intelligence ministry think that this is good material and contact me afterwards," the clean-shaven man in his 20s said.  mirror
  8. ^ "Iran sentences US man to death for spying". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2012-01-09. Retrieved 2012-01-09. But Hekmati's family in the United States told US media he had travelled to Iran to visit his Iranian grandmothers and he was not a spy.  mirror
  9. ^ a b "Iran pulls death penalty for Amir Mirzai Hekmati, former U.S. Marine convicted of spying for CIA | News | National Post". 27 December 2011. Retrieved 2012-03-06. 
  10. ^ a b Al Hajal, Khalil. "Family of Amir Hekmati issues statement marking Iran detainee's birthday as supporters in Flint plan benefit concert". M Live. Retrieved 1 August 2012. 
  11. ^ "Iran Sentences American to Death Amid Tensions Over Hormuz". Businessweek. 2009-12-08. Retrieved 14 December 2012. 
  12. ^ Ferran, Lee (20 December 2011). "American Held By Iran as CIA 'Spy' Had No Military Intel Training". ABC News. Retrieved 26 September 2012. 
  13. ^ a b c d Pincus, Walter (23 January 2012). "An American is caught in Iran’s spy game". The Washington Post (The Washington Post Company). Retrieved 26 September 2012. 
  14. ^ "Convicted spy's war-games work cited". United Press International. 11 January 2012. 
  15. ^ Martin, Adam (19 December 2011). "Iran Shows the Man It Alleges Is a U.S. Spy on State Television". The Atlantic. 
  16. ^ MITRE Corporation. "Applying Automated Metrics to Speech Translation Dialogs" (PDF). International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation. p. 8. Retrieved 26 September 2012. 
  17. ^ Parvaz, Dan. "Applying Automated Metrics to Speech Translation Dialogs". MITRE Corporation. 
  18. ^ Totilo, Stephen (29 August 2012). "The United States Government Kindly Asks Iran To Free Imprisoned American Game Developer Already". Kotaku. 
  19. ^ Rozen, Laura (9 January 2012). "U.S. condemns reported Iran death sentence for former U.S. Marine". Yahoo News. 
  20. ^ Karimi, Nasser; Brian Murphy (9 January 2012). "Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, Former U.S. Marine, Sentenced To Death In Iran". Huffington Post. 
  21. ^ "Amir Mirzaei Hekmati". The New York Times. 5 March 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2012. 
  22. ^ a b c Death row American's lawyer calls for compassion from Iran By Bryony Jones, CNN | 10 January 2012
  23. ^ Newton, Paula (25 September 2012). "Father fears he may never see his son imprisoned in Iran". CNN. 
  24. ^ Burgleigh, Marc (18 December 2011). "Iran TV shows 'CIA spy' speaking of alleged mission". Google. 
  25. ^ Tito, Greg (18 December 2011). "Iran state TV airs "confession" of detained CIA spy". Reuters. Retrieved 2012-01-09.  mirror
  26. ^ Dover, Sara. "Mitt Romney Advisor Pierre Prosper hired in Iran spy case.". International Business Times. Retrieved 1 August 2012. 
  27. ^ Labott, Elise. "EXCLUSIVE: Lawyer takes on Iran spy case". CNN. Retrieved 1 August 2012. 
  28. ^ "U.S. citizen goes on trial in Iran on spying charges". Reuters. 27 December 2011.  mirror
  29. ^ Mingxin, Bi (28 December 2011). "Iran holds first trial session of "CIA agent"". Xinhua News Agency. Retrieved 2012-01-09.  mirror
  30. ^ Tito, Greg (2012-01-09). "Jailed Spy: CIA Paid Developer to Make Anti-Middle East Games". Escapist Magazine.  mirror
  31. ^ Mackenzie, Craig (27 December 2011). "U.S. 'spy' faces death penalty after secret court hearing into claim he tried to infiltrate its secret service". Daily Mail. 
  32. ^ Ferran, Lee. "15. Report: American Ex-Marine ‘spy’ in Iran to get retrial". ABC News. Retrieved 1 August 2012. 
  33. ^ Sciutto, Jim; Chelsea J. Carter (11 April 2014). "Family: Ex-US Marine convicted in Iran, sentenced to 10 years prison". Cable News Network. Retrieved 12 April 2014. 
  34. ^

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