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Princeton grad student convicted of espionage in Iran loses appeal

By Philip Sean Curran, Staff Writer
A Princeton University grad student convicted of espionage in Iran and sentenced to 10 years in prison lost his appeal, with his wife saying Thursday that she is “devastated.”
“We are distressed that his appeal was denied, and that he remains unjustly imprisoned,” the university said of Xiyue Wang, who was in the country doing research for his doctoral dissertation and learning the Persian language. “The university continues to hope that the Iranian authorities will allow this genuine scholar, devoted husband and caring father to return to his doctoral studies and his family. We will continue to do everything we can to be supportive of Mr. Wang and his family, and of efforts to seek his safe return home.”
Wang, a grad student in the history department, was in the country last year and arrested on espionage charges that he was convicted of in April. His wife issued a statement through the university.
“I am devastated that my husband’s appeal has been denied and that he continues to be unjustly imprisoned in Iran on groundless accusations of espionage and collaboration with a hostile government against the Iranian state,” his wife, Hua Qu, said.
She said her husband had received the necessary approvals from the Iranian government to do research in the country. She said his dissertation is on 19th and early 20th Eurasian history.
“It was his passion for this field of study that drew him to Iran, and later to continue his dissertation research in Russia, and nothing else,” she said.
Later, she touched on the toll the separation has taken on the family, with the couple having a young child.
“It is heartbreaking to hear my son constantly ask about his father’s return home,” she said.
Wang has been held in a prison since Aug. 7, 2016, including the first 18 days in solitary confinement.
“Mr. Wang was not involved in any political activities or connected to any government agencies, he was simply a scholar conducting historical research,” the university statement said.

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