Family 'Agonizing' Over Fate of U.S. 'Spy' Facing Death Penalty in Iran

PHOTO: Amir Mirzaei Hekmati is a 28-year-old U.S.-raised dual citizen of Iran and America.

The family of former U.S. Marine and accused spy Amir Hekmati said that as Hekmati soon could face the death penalty at the hands of an Iranian court, the Iranian government has not given him a fair trial and has refused to respond to repeated, desperate pleas for answers.

"Since his detention in August 2011 Amir's mother and family have made every conceivable effort to try to cooperate constructively with the Iranian government on the matter. Unfortunately our effort has been met with general silence and no reciprocity," the family said in a statement late Tuesday. "Our family has been forced to sit idly as Amir awaits an uncertain fate, defenseless behind closed doors."

In the statement, the family said they have tried to hire at least 10 different lawyers to represent Hekmati, but he is only being represented by a government-appointed lawyer who did not meet Hekmati until the first day of his trial. The family also says they have tried to contact at least five different high officials in the Iranian government, including Iran's president and the country's representatives in the U.S., but "[their] pleas for basic human rights and due process for Amir have been unanswered."

The American government also requested consular access to Hekmati in December through its Swiss representatives in Iran but Iran refused, according to the U.S. State Department. Hekmati could face the death penalty if convicted, according to several Iranian news outlets.

Iran's Fars News Agency reported Tuesday that major court proceedings had ended and Hekmati's lawyer would provide "his last defense" before a verdict was reached. According to Iran's official Islamic Republic News Agency, in court Hekmati "confessed to his crimes but claimed he had been deceived and had no intention of taking action against the country."

Hekmati, an Arizona-born Iranian-American who served the U.S. Marines as a rifleman from 2001 to 2005, was arrested while visiting his extended family, including two elderly grandmothers, in Tehran on Aug. 29, 2011, according to the family. The family said they were urged by the Iranian government to keep quiet about his arrest with the promise of later release, but then in December, Hekmati was shown on Iranian television allegedly confessing to being an undercover agent of the Central Intelligence Agency on a mission to infiltrate the Iranian Intelligence Ministry.

"It was their [the CIA's] plan to first burn some useful information, give it to them [the Iranians] and let Iran's Intelligence Ministry think that this is good material," Hekmati says calmly in the video.

In an exclusive interview with ABC News shortly after the broadcast, Hekmati's father strongly denied his son was a spy and said the confession was forced.

"My son is no spy. He is innocent. He's a good fellow, a good citizen, a good man," Hekmati said. "These are all unfounded allegations and a bunch of lies."

READ Exclusive: Father of American 'Spy' Calls Iran Claims 'Bunch of Lies'

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