SEATTLE - After three years of imprisonment in Iran, University of Washington alum Xiyue Wang is free. His mother, who lives in Seattle, says she is so thankful for the community’s support.
In 2016, Xiyue Wang, a University of Washington alumnus and current Princeton Ph.D. student, was convicted of espionage and sentenced to 10 years in an Iranian prison.
“People abused my son,” said Kexu Lan, Xiyue’s mom.
For three years, Lan lived a nightmare. She didn't know when, or if, she would see her only son again.
She says she found out about her son’s imprisonment in November 2016, but had to wait months due to international politics before she could truly talk about it in public.
“I feel lonely; I feel helpless; I feel I’m in prison,” she said.
Lan had moved to Washington about 20 years ago with Xiyue. He is her only child.
Over the three years of his imprisonment, she says there were times she thought about giving up, but then she found support and hope.
Lan says people in the community, in some cases strangers, would say kind and supportive words to her. Also, about a year into Xiyue's imprisonment, Global Rights Advocacy, a local non-profit fighting for international human rights, got involved in the fight to bring her son home.
“This country is great, because we have great people,” she said.
Lan says she doesn’t like talking to the media, but she is speaking up now because she wants other families who are going through similar situations to know she is there for them.