Xiyue Wang, a Chinese graduate student and American citizen attending Princeton was conducting research for his doctoral thesis in Iran when he was arrested and charged with espionage. Wang was loading documents on the 19th and 20th century eurasian history researching the Qajar dynasty. However, the authorities in Iran thought he was a CIA agent and spy for the United States and sentenced him to 10 years in prison. CCS, among other human rights groups and several American universities have requested the Iranian government to review the case and release Mr. Wang.
August 5, 2017
President Hassan Rouhani
The Committee of Concerned Scientists is an independent organization of scientists, physicians, engineers and scholars devoted to the protection and advancement of human rights and scientific freedom for colleagues all over the world.
We are writing on behalf of Xiyue Wang, a doctoral student and United States citizen attending Princeton University. Wang was in Iran conducting research on his doctoral thesis, involving 19th and 20th Century Eurasian history. He was in Iran doing scholarly research on the Qajar dynasty, according to his University. He has been charged with espionage and sentenced to 10 years in prison for downloading documents that were said to be an infiltration of the Iranian archive. The documents, however, were for his research and are over 100 years old.
Wang is a highly-respected student and researcher who is well known and admired within his school community.
The Islamic Republic of Iran must respect the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, of which they are a signatory, and allow Mr. Wang to be released.
We welcome any additional information that may clarify our understanding of these events. Absent this, the facts suggest that Xiyue Wang has been arrested for peacefully exercising his right to academic freedom. We, his friends and colleagues, together with other organizations including his University and Scholars at Risk, are calling for Wang’s immediate release and speedy return to his family and academia.
We are also asking that prosecution authorities ensure that Wang has immediate access to his family and an attorney of his choosing. Please review his case and release him to return to his studies.
Thank you for your attention and response.
Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich, Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer
Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists
Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei
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