Free Xiyue Wang

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Since August of 2016, Xiyue Wang, an American citizen and graduate student at Princeton University, has been imprisoned in Iran on false spying charges. Wang is a history student, and he went to Iran in the spring of 2016 to do dissertation research on late 19th/early 20th century governance in the Islamic central Asian world. The project grew out of Wang's longstanding respect for Islam and his love for Persian culture. The documents he needed were mostly bureaucratic paperwork and definitely not confidential. Iranian authorities reviewed and approved Wang’s research plans in advance, and even wrote him a letter of introduction to the archives. All of the documents Wang scanned were cleared with state archivists. Needless to say, Wang is completely innocent of all charges against him.

The Iranian government is holding Wang as a political pawn. Since Wang was imprisoned a year and a half ago, he has been assaulted and threatened by other prisoners, interrogated for hours on end by Iranian officials, and periodically held in solitary confinement. His family, friends, and colleagues believe his life is in danger. The ward in which Wang is currently held is cold and flea-ridden, and Wang is suffering from tooth decay, arthritis, and severe depression as a result of his confinement. He has been given no warm clothes or blankets for winter, and no medical attention outside of basic pain relievers. He is not even allowed to receive the books his friends and family have tried to send him. Meanwhile, Wang’s wife and young son suffer heartache, anxiety, and crushing uncertainty as they hope for his return to the United States. Wang’s four-year-old son has not seen his father in two years; sometimes, he has trouble even remembering Wang's face.

We call on the United States government to do everything in its power to secure the release of this American citizen, scholar,  father, husband, and friend. We call on the Iranian government to stop playing politics with Wang’s life, and to return him to his family and his home as soon as possible.