The Supreme Court of Iran overturned a death sentence against an Iranian-American man previously convicted of spying for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), according to reports.
The supreme court nullified the execution sentence against Amir Mirza Hekmati and sent it to an affiliate court, said judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei in a statement.
The Supreme Court said the prior verdict was “not complete” and Hekmati, 28, will now be granted a new trial.
In January, Hekmati, who carries an American passport and served in the U.S. marines, was convicted by a revolutionary court of having cooperated “with a hostile nation, membership of the CIA and trying to implicate Iran in terrorism.”
Iranian prosecutors alleged Hekmati had received military training at U.S. bases in Afghanistan and Iraq and was subsequently dispatched to Iran to gather intelligence. In December, Hekmati allegedly “confessed” to his crimes, but asserted he planned to do no harm to Iran.
Washington has repeatedly demanded Hekmati’s immediate release and denied that he ever worked for the CIA in any capacity. Hekmati’s family, who live in Arizona, have also denied the charges and claimed that he visited Iran last year only to visit relatives.
According to reports, Hekmati’s mother visited him in Iran last month.
The Swiss embassy in Tehran, which typically represents U.S. interests in Iran, was denied permission to meet with Hekmati or offer legal counsel, Reuters reported.