For the past three years, Kexu Lan didn’t know if she would ever see her only child, Xiyue Wang, ever again. The University of Washington alumnus and current Princeton Ph.D. student was sentenced to 10 years in an Iranian prison for espionage
Kexu found out about her son’s imprisonment in November 2016. She couldn’t talk about her situation publicly for some time due to matters of international politics. Today, she’s able to say how she felt during that time. “I feel lonely; I feel helpless; I feel I’m in prison,” she said in footage provided by Q13FOX.
Kexu was frantic as she tried to figure out what would happen with her son. She credits the Seattle community for their support during her unthinkable struggles. Strangers on the street would recognize her and stop her to offer words of support. Then, local non-profit Global Rights Advocacy, which fights for international human rights, got involved in trying to bring Xiyue home.
Negotiations were made for Xiyue to be released in exchange for scientist Massoud Soleimani. Massoud faced a federal trial in Georgia over charges he violated sanctions by trying to have biological material brought to Iran. For Kexu, who brought her son to this country over 20 years ago, it was nothing short of a miracle.
While Kexu doesn’t like talking about what her family has been through, she does want other families dealing with similar situations to know they have her love and support. “This country is great, because we have great people,” she said.