Supporters of Xiyue Wang, the Princeton University graduate student who has been imprisoned in Iran for almost two years, will hold a rally at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 11, in front of the Frist Campus Center. The event is open to the public.
Xiyue Wang’s wife, Hua Qu, will speak at the event, along with other family members and friends. A handful of elected officials will also give speeches.
The event is organized by graduate students and members of the Princeton University community. Xiyue Wang is a doctoral student in the history department. He attended a Farsi language program in Iran from January to March of 2016, and returned to Tehran in May of 2016 to continue his language studies and conduct research for his dissertation on 19th century Eurasia.
In August 2016, he was arrested. The Iranian government claimed he was a spy. In April of 2017, he was sentenced to ten years in prison after a trial his supporters say lacked basic due process and other legal protections. This court’s decision was upheld in August of 2017. On Nov. 26, Iranian television station IRIB2 released a video of Wang that alleged that he had “infiltrated” Iran under the false cover of academic research.
Last week, the United States House of Representatives passed the “Iran Human Rights and Hostage-Taking Accountability Act”, which will be voted upon soon by the United States Senate. The bill is based on two resolutions approved by Congress in 2017 that mention Xiyue Wang. Supporters of Xiyue Wang say there appears to be little progress on the diplomatic front to secure his release as the relationship between the U.S. and Iran deteriorates.
The rally in support of Xiyue Wang will be held the day before President Donald Trump will announce whether he will pull the United States out of the nuclear deal with Iran. Under the 2015 agreement, the United States lifted sanctions on Tehran in exchange for the country downsizing its nuclear program.