The American ex-Marine who was sentenced to death for allegedly spying for the CIA in Iran is getting a retrial, a judicial spokesperson said today according to an Iranian news agency.
A high court official told the semi-official Iranian Students' News Agency there were problems with 28-year-old Amir Hekmati's original trial and his death sentence has been annulled.
"There was an objection to the ruling in the Supreme Court and the court found fault with it and sent it to another branch with same level of authority," state prosecutor Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehei said, according to the ISNA.
An attorney for the Hekmati family, Pierre Prosper, told The Associated Press the family is awaiting official confirmation of the retrial, but said, "we are pleased with reports coming out of Tehran."
Hekmati, who was a U.S. Marine for five years before leaving the service for work at various security contracting agencies, was arrested during a visit to Tehran in late August, but his family kept the story out of the press after they said they were promised by the Iranian government that silence would help secure his release.
Then, in December, an Iranian television station showed a news report that featured the Arizona-born Hekmati "confessing" to being a CIA mole sent to infiltrate the Iranian intelligence ministry.
In an exclusive interview with ABC News after the alleged confession, Hekmati's father, Ali, said the accusations against his son are "absolutely, positively" wrong.
"My son is no spy. He is innocent. He's a good fellow, a good citizen, a good man," the elder Hekmati said. "These are all unfounded allegations and a bunch of lies."
Still, Amir Hekmati was sentenced to death by an Iranian court after a closed trial in January.
Then, Hekmati's mother, Behnaz, released a statement saying that she and her husband Ali were "shocked and terrified by the news that our son, Amir, has been sentenced to death. We believe that this verdict is a result of a process that was neither transparent nor fair." Lawyers in Iran had appealed the sentence.
Behnaz was reportedly allowed her first visit to Amir since his detention in late February.
A spokesperson for the Hekmati family declined to comment on this report.