354 days ago,
(17 Jul 2017) A Chinese-American graduate student was sentenced to 10 years in prison in Iran for allegedly "infiltrating" the country and sending confidential material abroad.
Xiyue Wang's arrest, which authorities said happened nearly a year ago, only came to light Sunday when Iran's judiciary announced his sentence and the detention of President Hassan Rouhani's brother in an unrelated case.
Princeton would not comment on camera but said in a statement that it was "very distressed" by the charges leveled against Wang while he was carrying out scholarly research in the Islamic Republic.
It has been working Wang's family, the U.S. government, lawyers and others to secure his release, it added.
Andrea Gaytan, a graduate student at Rutgers University who as visiting the Princeton campus in New Jersey, said Wang's detention is bad for all graduate students who hope to go abroad to do research.
"It's very very sad that these things are happening. And are reducing also the expectations and hopes of graduate students," said Gaytan.
Wang was arrested on Aug. 8, 2016 and is accused of passing confidential information about Iran to the U.S. State Department, Princeton's Sharmin and Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies, the Harvard Kennedy School and the British Institute of Persian Studies, Mizan Online said.
It alleged he recorded some 4,500 pages of digital documents, paid thousands of dollars to access archives he needed and sought access to confidential areas of Tehran libraries.
Princeton University professor Stephen Kotkin, who has served as Wang's doctoral adviser, defended him in an email to The Associated Press.
"Xiyue Wang is a remarkable, linguistically gifted graduate student," he wrote. "He is innocent of all the charges."