Game developer accused of espionage in 2011 released from Iranian prison

By Stephany Nunneley, Saturday, 16 January 2016 16:27 GMT

Kuma Reality developer Amir Hekmati has been released from an Iranian prison along with three other Iranian-Americans via a prisoner swap.

Amir Mirzaei Hekmati

Hekmati was arrested in Iran in 2011 on espionage charges while visiting with his grandparents. Initially handed a death sentence in January 2012, but it was overturned in March. A new trial was held during April 2012 and his sentence changed to a 10-year prison term.

The developer, an Arizona-born Iranian-American and former US Marine, was arrested over a 2009 a language-retention toolset created by Kuma Reality studio for soldiers. The project was funded by a $95,000 grant from the Department of Defense.

In 2011, the Tehran Times reported Hekmati confessed to working with the CIA on creating “free special movies and games with the aim of manipulating public opinion in the Middle East.”

The White House, the US State Department and Hekmati’s family denied the allegations and stated his confession on video tape was coerced.

Aljazeera America has more on the release of Hekmati and the other prisoners, and a previous feature on the game developer chronicling the entire situation was published in 2013. It’s a rather good read and shed more light on story.

Thanks, Polygon.

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