A former US Marine is demanding $20 million from the Terrorism Victims Fund. Amir Mirza Hekmati, who holds US and Iranian citizenship, was jailed in Iran for four and a half years on charges of spying for foreign governments and released in January 2016.
He was born in Arizona, grew up in Michigan, joined the Marine Corps in 2001-2005, and served twice in Iraq.
He was about to begin his master’s degree in 2011 before deciding to visit his grandmother in Iran before that, to be held by the Iranian authorities and accused of spying.
The former US Marine claims the government for failing to pay compensation promised by a special fund to US citizens who are victims of terrorism.
The US Congress approved the creation of the fund in 2015 and has compensated many victims for a total of more than $2 billion, including the 1979 Tehran hostage crisis.
Nearly two years ago, the administration of the US Justice Department’s fund decided that Hekmati was eligible for about $20 million and should have received a down payment 10 months ago.
He points out in his lawsuit that those who had already been earmarked for money from the fund had received it, but he had not received anything, despite inquiries from his lawyers and congressional representatives.
Hekmati’s lawyer Scott Gilbert revealed that he had not received a response from the fund about his inquiries, but had sent them a message that the fund wanted to reconsider whether his client was eligible for compensation, without providing explanations.
The arbitration expert identified attorney Kenneth Feinberg to review whether my judgment was eligible for compensation.
Hekmati was among Americans freed by Iran in 2016 in an exchange deal with the United States.
Amir Mirza Hekmati was arrested in August 2011 for allegedly spying for the CIA in Iran. He sued the Government of Iran on May 11, 2016. He received a default judgment of $63 million on October 3, 2017.