The following statement was issued Thursday, June 13, by Sarah-Jane Leslie, dean of the Graduate School:
The release of Nizar Zakka from an Iranian prison reminded the world that Princeton University graduate student Xiyue Wang remains unjustly detained after nearly three years in that same Evin prison.
Mr. Zakka told The New York Times that he and Xiyue were jailed together for about two years in a cramped cell with dozens of other men. Both were serving 10-year sentences. “You will never see any place so horrible,” Mr. Zakka said. “I promised him that I will not rest until he’s freed. He’s a student, he was doing his research. Nothing justifies him being left behind.”
The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention reached the same conclusion last year — that Iran had no legal basis for his arrest and detention, that his conviction and sentence were unjust, and that he should be released immediately.
That Xiyue remains imprisoned is a continuing heartache for him, for his wife and their young son, and for all of us in the Princeton community. We renew our urgent call for his release, as we continue to do all we can, every day, to secure his homecoming. We yearn for the day he returns home, resuming his scholarly work and recovering from this unwarranted and agonizing ordeal in the loving embrace of his family and friends.