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Iranian court finds flaws in evidence against convicted American

March 5, 2012 |  8:40 am

Amir-mirzaei-hekmati

REPORTING FROM TEHRAN -- Iran's supreme court has found flaws in the evidence used to convict and sentence to death an Iranian American accused of being a CIA spy, according to the semi-official Iranian Students News Agency.

The evidence against Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, 28, has been returned to another branch of the revolutionary court for review, the news agency reported.<

The development in the case probably means that Hekmati cannot be executed until after a retrial and a new verdict is issued, said Husian Aqasi, the attorney for Hekmati's family.

"Based on my experience, there is hope that his death sentence will be reduced and he will be treated with less punishment," Aqasi said.

Hekmati, a former U.S. Marine, was accused of cooperating with an enemy government, being a CIA member and trying to accuse Iran of supporting terrorism. In December, Iranian state television broadcast video of a purported confession by Hekmati in which he said he had been sent by the CIA to infiltrate Iranian intelligence services.

His family has said any confessions would have been made under duress. His father, Ali Hekmati, a community college professor in Flint, Mich., reportedly said his son was in Iran to visit his two grandmothers.

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-- Ramin Mostaghim

Photo: American Amir Mirzaei Hekmati is seen on Iranian TV in a Dec. 27, 2011, newscast about his trail on espionage charges. Credit: IRIB / Associated Press

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