London, 20 Jul - The wife of the Princeton graduate student who was sentenced to 10 years in prison in Iran for espionage has called on authorities to release him as he is "unjustly imprisoned".
Xiyue Wang was arrested in August 2016, while on a research trip to Iran for his PhD in late 19th and early 20th-century Eurasian history, but his imprisonment was only reported on Sunday following his sentencing.
Wang's wife Hua Qu described the 36-year-old as "one of the kindest, most thoughtful, and most loving men I have ever known."
She said: "Our [4-year-old] son has missed his father for more than a year of his young life, as my husband has been unjustly imprisoned for espionage that I know he did not and never would commit. We fervently hope that the Iranian authorities will release him soon so that he can return home to his young family."
Wang’s family have been working with Princeton, the U.S. government, lawyers and others to secure his release on appeal. They had originally not publicised Wang’s arrest because they were warned that it would hurt his case, according to Princeton President Chris Eisgruber.
Wang, who worked as a translator for the International Committee of Red Cross in Afghanistan, was accused of passing confidential information about Iran to the US State Department, Princeton's Sharmin and Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies, the Harvard Kennedy School and the British Institute of Persian Studies, according to the Iranian Regime linked new sites.
Daniel Day, Princeton's assistant vice president at the Office of Communications, said, "We were very distressed to learn that charges were brought against him in connection with his scholarly work, and to learn of the subsequent conviction and sentence."
Wang's advising professor, Stephen Kotkin, said that the research Wang did in Iran; scanning documents, accessing libraries, etc, was all "normal, standard scholarly practice".
Wang, who has also studied at Harvard, began his doctoral work at Princeton in 2013.
The U.S. State Department has not provided details on Wang’s case but called on Tehran to immediately release "all U.S. citizens unjustly detained in Iran," as Wang is one of dozens of Americans held in Iranian jails.
Others include Iranian-American art gallery manager Karan Vafadari who was detained along with his Iranian wife last year, neither of whom have been convicted of any crime, and Iranian-American businessman Siamak Namazi and his 81-year-old father, Baquer Namazi, who are each serving 10-year sentences for "cooperating with the hostile American government."