A former game developer and United States Marine named Amir Hekmati was released from captivity in Iran and now that he's back, he's suing Iran for allegedly being tortured while in captivity. Hekmati previously worked for Kuma Games.
According to an article on Gamespot, Amir Hekmati claims that he suffered physical and emotional trauma for four and a half years while imprisoned. Evidence of the torture wasn't mentioned in the article, but it gets fairly graphic and descriptive at times.
According to Amir Hekmati, he was physically tortured by having his feet whipped, as well as undergoing sensory deprivation by having water splashed on the floor and a bright light left on in the room so he would lose sense of time. He also claims that they tortured him emotionally by telling him that his sister was involved in a serious car crash and that the only way he could see his family is if he confessed to being a CIA spy.
Amir Hekmati was reportedly taken prisoner back in 2011 when he was visiting family in Iran, and the Iranian authorities claimed that he was there for reasons of espionage. Gamespot reports that the claims of espionage were based on Hekmati's work at Kuma Games, a small-time development studio who makes a lot of free games. One of their more popular game titles includes the game Kuma/War, which sees players traveling the war to stop various famous dictators. Iran claimed that Kuma was just a cover for work that Hekmati was doing for DARPA and the CIA.
Kuma Games has more than 150 games in their library, but it seems really bizarre that Iran would claim that Amir Hekmati was there for espionage purposes based on some of the war titles made by Kuma Games. It reminds me of the two developers who were detained in Greece while working on Bohemia Interactive's Arma. They were held prisoner on charges of conspiracy to commit acts of espionage after they snapped some photos of a Greek military prison. The Arma III developers spent 128 days in prison while the gaming community rallied to get them free, as reported by MP1st.
Of course, the big difference between Amir Hekmati and the Arma developers is that Kuma Games isn't very well known, and most people probably never would have made the connection without the media cultivating this bond for them. Also, Hekmati was held much longer than the Bohemia Interactive employees.
In fact, Hekmati claims that his first 17 months in captivity were spent in solitary confinement. After some more harrowing time in prison, he was sentenced to death, but later had that verdict overturned in order to serve a 10-year prison sentence. Instead of serving out the sentence, back in January of 2016 Hekmati and several other prisoners were released as part of a prisoner exchange.
The comment section on the Gamespot article is possibly more interesting than the article itself. A lot of commenters note that these tensions and perceptions of espionage are fueled by media controlled by state propaganda. Plenty of American and Iranian posters note that what really happened involving Amir Hekmati might not ever really be known to the public, but that people should be very wary about what they hear and read from American media and Iranian media.
Nevertheless, the article doesn't state how much Hekmati is suing the Iranian government for, or when they plan to go forward with the suit, but the news media definitely wanted people to know that a lawsuit was filed against the country.