• Press Release

Amnesty International USA Asks Supporters to Act Now to Halt the Execution of U.S. Citizen in Iran

January 17, 2012

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, 212-633-4150, [email protected]

(New York) — Amnesty International USA is asking supporters to take action to halt the execution of a U.S. citizen, Amir Hekmati, who was sentenced to death in Iran after being convicted of spying for the C.I.A.

Amnesty International is urging supporters to contact Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei, Iran's Supreme Leader, and other authorities, to stop the execution. Supporters can take action online.

Hekmati, a former Marine, was not allowed access to his family or allowed consular assistance from the Swiss (the United States has no representatives in Iran) and was only given access to a court-appointed lawyer for the first time on the day of his trial.

A confession made by Hekmati was broadcast on Iranian state television in December and used as "evidence" against him at trial.

Iran has a history of using confessions obtained by coercion or torture to undermine the right to a fair trial.

The death sentence comes at a time of heightened tensions between Iran and the United States.

"This is the first time since Iran's revolution 33 years ago that a U.S. citizen has been sentenced to death in Iran," said Elise Auerbach,  specialist on Iran for Amnesty International USA.   "The time to act is now to condemn this sentence, which was handed down following a patently unfair trial."

Iran has officially acknowledged executing 17 people already this year, although Amnesty International has received information suggesting at least 39 people may have been put to death in the first week of 2012 alone.

In December 2011, Amnesty International highlighted a massive wave of executions in Iran throughout 2011, with over 600 people being put to death between the beginning of 2011 and November. Most of these were for drug-related offenses.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 2.8 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.

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