An Iranian judiciary confirmed on Sunday that an American man was sentenced to 10 years in prison for espionage, reports the New York Times. This was the first official confirmation of 37-year-old Xiyue Wang’s arrest since his disappearance several months ago.
Wang was a fourth-year graduate student at Princeton University conducting research on the Qajar dynasty in Iran for his thesis.
The state is accusing Wang of recording 4,500 pages of Iranian documents and sharing high security information with the U.S. State Department, Princeton University, Harvard University, and the British Institute of Persian Studies.
Officials from Princeton said that they have been aware of Wang’s arrest for a few months and have been working with his family, the U.S. government, and private counsel to free him.
“We were very distressed by the charges brought against him in connection with his scholarly activities, and by his subsequent conviction and sentence,” a Princeton representative said. “His family and the university are distressed at his continued imprisonment and are hopeful that he will be released.”
Wang was born and raised in China and is currently an American citizen. He attended the University of Washington as an undergraduate, where he studied South Asian history. From 2008 to 2009 he completed a fellowship at Harvard University.
Wang’s life goal is to walk the historical Silk Road from Xi’an to Rome.
He will have 20 days to appeal his sentence.
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