Free my innocent son from a Chinese Prison

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Free my innocent son from a Chinese Prison

This petition had 29,558 supporters
dalila johnson started this petition to United States Secretary of State John Kerry and

My son AJ is locked away in a Chinese detention center for defending himself from an attacker. US officials have told our family they agree AJ should not be imprisoned, but have refused to act and pressure Chinese authorities to release him. AJ was in China to teach and work with startups, not to lose his freedom. Since this ordeal has begun he has missed the funeral of his father and aunt. Please join me is calling on the US State Department to get AJ released immediately.

On April 3rd, another American attacked my son over a petty argument. AJ defended himself as would anybody. Unfortunately, the police were called and both men were charged. AJ had the facts on his side and we felt everything would be resolved. The attacker eventually admitted to starting the fight, AJ had no criminal record or history of violence, and AJ’s lawyer expected the charges to be dismissed at his hearing. We just had to wait for AJ’s day in court.

While AJ waited to go to court, his father died. Chinese authorities refused to let him travel to attend the funeral. It was devastating for me not to have my son by my side to mourn his father. I tried not to imagine what he was going through knowing he couldn’t come home. Sadly, tragedy struck again. My sister, AJ’s aunt, died a few months later. AJ pleaded to be allowed home to say goodbye to his aunt. Instead of allowing him to go home, AJ was arrested and sentenced to a year in prison for the April 3rd incident.

It was a stunning turn of events nobody expected. While AJ has been imprisoned, we have been given multiple reasons why he hasn’t been released. Everything from needing to pay a fine and fees, which was paid, to the local judge ignoring the prosecution’s request for dismissal. In the meantime, we have tried to get US officials to act on my son’s behalf. They have refused to act. Each passing day is another day an innocent American sits in jail.

AJ is an outstanding citizen and representative of the US. He is not a criminal. We need as many voices to speak up for AJ as we can get. It will take all of us to get the US State Department to get AJ released immediately. On behalf of our family, I thank you for your support.

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