Chinese-born American Citizen Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison in Iran for Spying

Xiyue Wang, a Princeton University doctoral candidate, was arrested in Iran last summer.

An American researcher has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after being convicted of spying, according to Iran.

Princeton University identified the man as Chinese-born Xiyue Wang, an American citizen and graduate student in history. Wang was arrested in Iran last summer while doing scholarly research in connection with his Ph.D. dissertation, a university statement said.

Earlier Sunday, the semi-official news agency Fars News, citing a video statement from Iranian judicial spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejheie, initially identified the convicted man’s nationality as Iranian-American. Later, Fars News, again citing Mohseni-Ejheie, said he was a citizen of the United States and a country other than Iran.

The dates of Wang’s trial have not been disclosed. He was arrested and put on trial for “gathering information,” and the sentence can be appealed, said Mohseni-Ejheie, speaking in the Fars News video statement.

According to Iranian law, a convicted person has 20 days to appeal a sentence.

Since Wang’s arrest, Princeton officials said they have worked with his family, private counsel and others to aid his release.

“We were very distressed by the charges brought against him in connection with his scholarly activities, and by his subsequent conviction and sentence,” Daniel Day, university spokesman said. “His family and the university are … hopeful that he will be released after his case is heard by the appellate authorities in Tehran.”

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SOURCE: CNN, Shirzad Bozorgmehr and Jay Croft