Xiyue Wang is a Ph.D. student at Princeton University and an American citizen. In August 2016, while conducting research for his dissertation, Xiyue was unjustly detained by the Iranian government, secretly tried for espionage and sentenced to 10 years in prison. For nearly three years, Xiyue has been held in the notorious Evin prison in Tehran, separated from his wife and young son in the United States. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has found that Iran had “no legal basis for the arrest and detention” of Xiyue and called on Iran to “release [him] immediately.”
Xiyue is a scholar, not a spy. His arrest is a violation of academic freedom and human rights. Xiyue’s activities in Iran were purely scholarly in nature; his source documents were over a hundred years old and were neither confidential nor classified. What’s more, Xiyue’s work had explicit approval from the Iranian government. Prior to his departure, Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs approved his research plan and wrote him a letter of introduction for his archival work.
Xiyue has been arrested, secretly tried on false espionage charges and sentenced after the trial. While at the notorious Evin Prison, he has been subjected to various forms of torture and held hostage for political reasons that have nothing to do with him or his research. It is now time for Xiyue to come home.
For more details on Xiyue’s circumstances, see Princeton University’s FAQ.