[JURIST] Preliminary hearings for the trial of alleged United State Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) [official website] spy, Iranian-American Amir Mirzaei Hekmati began in an Iranian Court Tuesday. Leading evidence against Hekmati includes a confession made on Iranian state television [Naharnet report] where he admits his mission was to infiltrate Iran's intelligence systems by initially offering information to gain their trust and in order to find evidence that Iran was involved in terrorist activity [CNN report]. Herkmati, a former US marine, told the court that he was fooled by the CIA and did not want to hurt Iran, according to a Fars News report [Fars News report]. The United States contends that the allegations against Hekmati are false and that his confessions were forced [National Post report]. Hekmati's family living in the United States, said that he was visiting his grandmothers [NYT report] in Iran at the time of his arrest. The US has been repeatedly accused [BBC report] by Iran of carrying out secret missions to subvert its global reputation.
Last week, Iran denied involvement [JURIST report] in the 9/11 attacks [JURIST backgrounder] after allegations in a default judgment in Havlish v. Bin Laden [materials]. A judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website] granted the plaintiffs' motion for judgment against Iran, its Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Hoseini-Kharmenei, former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani [BBC profiles] and several other sovereign defendants holding that they are liable under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 (FSIA) [text] for knowingly aiding al Qaeda [JURIST news archive] through Hezbollah [BBC profile] in the 9/11 attack. Also last week, Alan Gross, a US citizen serving a 15-year prison sentence [JURIST report] in Cuba, was not included Cuba's announced release of 2,900 political prisoners. Gross was sentenced in Cuba for installing internet equipment as part of a secretive US program.