Iranian-American Game Designer Sentenced to Death
Earlier today a former US military serviceman and video game designer was found guilty by an Iranian court of espionage and was sentenced to death.
Amir Mirzaei Hekmati (pictured above), went to Iran in August to visit family. He was detained and last month a video was released where a man identified as Hekmati confessed that he was sent to Iran by the US government to give information, some fake and true, to Iranian authorities and that Kuma Reality Games was given money by the CIA to make games that promote certain ideas about the Middle East. The following are excerpts from Hektami’s supposed confession from Iranian daily newspaper the Tehran Times:
“One of the reasons behind the U.S. military presence in Iraq was to have presence in the Middle East and to infiltrate Muslim people through infiltrating into Islamic groups and cause deviation (in them).
Another objective of the U.S. was to keep a rein on the Middle East(ern) (countries), including Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Bahrain, and even Tunisia to prevent the Islamic Republic from becoming a model for these countries….
After (working for DARPA), I went to Kuma (Games Company). This computer company was receiving money from the CIA to (produce) and design and distribute for free special movies and games with the aim of manipulating public opinion in the Middle East. The goal of the company in question was to convince the people of Iran and the people of the entire world that whatever the U.S. does in other countries is a good measure.”
Using that tape as evidence, Iran’s Revolutionary Court found Mr. Hekmati to be “Corrupt on Earth and Mohareb (waging war on God)” which, according to the New York Times, is a ” formulation [that] is routinely used in cases against alleged enemies of the Islamic Republic, and the charge carries the death sentence.”
Kuma Games, a studio who specializes in making “ripped from the headlines” themed FPS’s, denied that Hekmati worked for them at all. But, according to Kotaku, an online US government filing showed that Hekmati actually did work for Kuma. He was developing a language learning and retention program for soldiers with a grant from the DOD for $96,000.
The US government has demanded the release of Hekmati, but the Iranian government refuses. The State Department also that last month, both before and during the trial members of the Swiss Embassy, who are representatives of America’s interests in Iran, were not allowed any access to Hekmati.