September 24, 2023

(NewsNation) — Calls to launch American prisoner Mark Swidan are rising louder. The Texas businessman has been held in a Chinese language jail cell for greater than a decade, the place his lawyer says he has been “tortured for years.”

Swidan’s lawyer, Jason Poblete, spoke to NewsNation host Elizabeth Vargas to make clear Swidan’s circumstances in China.

Poblete mentioned Swidan is being held in a facility the place he’s compelled to sleep on a concrete flooring with the lights on always.

“That does rather a lot to an individual psychologically. It does rather a lot to an individual bodily. He’s being handled, for my part, like a political prisoner,” Poblete mentioned, later including: “He has been tortured for years.”

Regardless of a scarcity of proof, Swidan presently faces a loss of life sentence in China linked to drug-related costs.

In 2012, Swidan traveled from Texas to China to purchase supplies to rework his residence. He was arrested on accusations of trafficking and manufacturing methamphetamine, however U.S. leaders have argued Swidan was not in China on the time of the alleged crime. The United Nations says Swidan was arbitrarily detained.

“Mark has a blue passport, was on the mistaken place on the mistaken time, and he was going to be made an instance of,” Poblete advised NewsNation.

To his information, Poblete says Swidan is the longest held-in-captivity American. Poblete mentioned lawmakers have to prioritize Swidan’s case since he’s “not properly.”

“I don’t assume our coverage makers are getting the message that except they prioritize this case and cease cherry-picking different instances, we’re not going to deliver Mark residence,” Poblete mentioned.

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“He was not in state. He wants to come back residence,” Poblete continued.

Ambassador Nicholas Burns visited Swidan. Poblete described the report from Burns on Swidan’s situation as “very graphic.”

Hundreds of miles away, Katherine Swidan is extraordinarily nervous about her son. She says Mark, now 48, has misplaced his tooth and greater than 100 lbs.

Katherine Swidan penned a letter, urging the Chinese language to be extra humane along with her son.

“Mark Swidan is my son, my child, my finest buddy. Would Mom Mary not do all the things to avoid wasting her son Jesus if she may have? She and I’ve rather a lot in frequent … I don’t have the energy to observe Mark undergo as she needed to … I can’t think about,” the letter obtained by Markie Martin, who has been main NewsNation’s protection on Swidan, reads.  

Swidan continued: “The Chinese language MUST feed him, medical attn, clear water, scorching showers and air to breathe till that is over. As a result of in the event that they let him die, conveniently for the Chinese language, there will likely be blood on the fingers of whomever dragged their ft with phrases and never motion.”

Within the letter, she mentioned her son has skilled damaged fingers, hunger, extreme periodontal illness inflicting his mouth to bleed, damaged legs, a dislocated knee and swollen ankle with out medical assist for greater than 5 years.

“I do know what I deliver to the desk. Belief me, I’m not afraid to eat alone,” Swidan wrote. “China solely respects energy, so present it earlier than it’s too late.”

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Mark Swidan was sentenced to loss of life in 2019. He appealed his sentence, and it was denied earlier this month.

“The problems I feel at this juncture will not be authorized anymore. What we have now is a political problem, and we’d like our authorities to display the identical political will they present in different instances, a lot much less severe instances,” Poblete mentioned.

The U.S. State Division responded final week to China’s resolution to uphold Swidan’s loss of life penalty, saying: “We’re disenchanted by this resolution and can proceed to press for his fast launch and return to the USA… President Biden and Secretary Blinken proceed to stay personally targeted on the discharge of Mark Swidan and different U.S. nationals wrongfully detained or held hostage the world over.”

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, criticized the Biden administration for not giving public consideration to Swidan’s scenario. In December, the White Home organized a high-level prisoner swap, the place Russia freed WNBA star Brittney Griner in alternate for infamous Russian arms vendor Viktor Bout. In latest weeks, President Joe Biden urged Russia to launch Wall Avenue Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich. The White Home condemned Gershkovich’s detention “within the strongest phrases.”

Cruz thinks if Swidan was a WNBA participant or journalist, he can be residence by now.

“Joe Biden gained’t say his title. Kamala Harris gained’t say his title. Tony Blinken. I imply, there are all kinds of administration officers who may rise up, who may name out the Chinese language,” Cruz solely advised NewsNation host Leland Vittert, later including: “This administration has been afraid to face as much as China and sadly Mark Swidan is paying the price of that.”

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Poblete commented on Griner’s case: “What they did to her, they need to not have carried out to her. However the velocity at which our authorities moved to behave on her case was not the velocity that we have now seen in different instances.”

Swidan has been imprisoned in China via three presidencies — former presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump and present President Joe Biden. The Home unanimously accredited a decision Tuesday to induce China to launch Swidan, however Biden has not publicly made remarks about Swidan.

NewsNation’s Markie Martin contributed to this report.