Game Developer Sentenced to Death in Iran Asks Obama for Intervention

Amir Hekmati, the U.S.-born game developer sentenced to death in Iran for allegedly engaging in espionage for the CIA, has asked the Obama administration to do whatever it takes, including a prisoner-transfer, to save him from execution.

Hekmati worked for the New York-based video game studio Kuma Games, where among other projects he worked on language-learning games for the Department of Defense.

The Washington Post reports that although Hekmati was initially sentenced to execution by hanging in January, his case has been somewhat delayed for reasons that are not clear. He could be hanged immediately after an appeals court reviews his sentence. Via his Iranian lawyer, Hekmati has asked the Obama administration to do whatever it takes to get him released, up to and including a prisoner exchange.

The former diplomat Pierre Prosper has been working with Hekmati's family to get him freed; as of the death sentence on January 10, Prosper said that "it is not over."

Hekmati had 20 days to appeal his sentence on January 10, so it is unclear why the Iranian government has not yet carried it out. It is possible that he is being kept alive as part of a plan to use him as a bargaining chip for Iran's other goals.

Ex-Marine sentenced to death in Iran needs U.S. intervention, lawyer pleads [Washington Post]