Xiyue Wang and his family

As Xiyue Wang marks 38th birthday in Iran prison, Princeton renews call for his immediate release

Dec. 31, 2018 8 a.m.

The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has concluded Princeton graduate student Xiyue Wang, shown here with his wife and their young son before he was detained in Iran in 2016, is wrongly held and should be released immediately.

The following statement was released Dec. 31, 2018, by Princeton University.

Today, Dec. 31, 2018, is the 38thbirthday for our graduate student Xiyue Wang. 

We are deeply saddened that Xiyue will be spending this birthday, as he has spent his last two birthdays, arbitrarily and unjustly detained in Iran’s Evin prison. For no defensible reason, he remains separated from his wife and young son, and Princeton University stands firmly with them and his other friends, family and colleagues in calling for his immediate release.    

When he was arrested in 2016, Xiyue was in Iran solely for scholarly purposes, learning the Farsi language and doing historical research for his Ph.D. dissertation. As the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention forcefully stated in September this year, the spying charge against him was false and his conviction and imprisonment were unjust. 

The Working Group called for Xiyue’s immediate release, as have a broad coalition of U.S. universities led by the American Council on Education, and the European University Association, which represents more than 800 universities and national university associations in 48 European countries.  In a recent statement, the EUA denounced Xiyue’s conviction and imprisonment as an “alarming violation of academic freedom, due process and fair trial, which are fundamental and internationally-recognized rights and standards.”   

We stand with Xiyue on this birthday, as we have throughout his unjust detention, and we fervently hope that he will be released with no further delay, so that he may return home as soon as possible to be reunited with his wife and young son.

The University has compiled a list of answers to frequently asked questions about Xiyye Wang, and it includes links to statements of support from many international organizations.