In a video message shared with US media outlet News Nation, Mel Gibson, an acclaimed actor and director who has won an Oscar, demanded the release of Mark Swidan, an American citizen who has been condemned to death in China.
Gibson expressed his view that Swidan’s imprisonment is not only unjustifiable, but it also violates the law. He said that Swidan has been “wrongfully and unlawfully imprisoned” for over ten years now.
“He faces a death sentence, he’s a man of great faith, an American patriot, and he refuses during his captivity to renounce either his faith or his country,” Gibson continued.
The Chinese authorities arrested Mark Swidan, a devout Catholic from Texas, in 2012 on charges of conspiring with a Mexican cartel to produce methamphetamine, despite a lack of evidence. In 2019, Swidan was found guilty and sentenced to death, and this decision was upheld by the Chinese government earlier this month.
In response to the sentencing of Mark Swidan to death in China, the US Department of State issued a statement. The statement reads: “We are disappointed by this decision and will continue to press for his immediate release and return to the United States. U.S. officials have repeatedly expressed their concerns to senior PRC officials about Mr. Swidan’s treatment, medical care, and his inability to send or receive mail in a timely manner.
“President Biden and Secretary Blinken continue to remain personally focused on the release of Mark Swidan and other U.S. nationals wrongfully detained or held hostage across the world.”
Mel Gibson conveyed his solidarity with Mark Swidan and his family in a video message, acknowledging their unrelenting efforts to bring attention to his case. He appealed to the US government to exhaust all options available to secure Swidan’s release, emphasizing that his imprisonment was unlawful and unjustified. Gibson asserted that Swidan’s case is a crucial issue that warrants immediate attention and action.
China has one of the highest rates of executions in the world, and the country’s legal system has been criticized for its lack of transparency and fairness. Human rights groups have raised concerns about the treatment of prisoners, including allegations of torture and mistreatment.