Houston woman could spend life in Chinese prison over spying claims

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Houston woman could spend life in Chinese prison over spying claims.

A Houston man says his wife is now charged criminally in China after being detained on allegations that she was a spy.

Sandy Phan-Gillis was taken into custody by Chinese authorities in March of 2015 while there on a trip designed to encourage business between Houston and China, according to her husband Jeff Gillis.

Now he says he's learned she has been subjected to physical and psychological torture, which has resulted in what he calls a coerced confession.

"Very frustrated, very frightened for my wife," said Jeff Gillis. He says the Chinese Spy Agency obtained a confession from his wife through torture: denial of life-sustaining medications and threats of spending a lifetime in prison should she not cooperate. Gillis said he learned she recently ended up in the hospital as a result of her growing fear for her own safety. "How great a sense of terror does there have to be to have a fear-induced heart attack?" he said.

Phan-Gillis was accused of being a spy and stealing trade secrets in China from 1996 through 1998.

Her husband, however, shared with us documents which he says can prove otherwise: pay stubs for the time periods in question showing she was at her clerical job with the Houston Police Department at that time.

He also has a newspaper article, including picture, which he says shows her here in Houston at the time when she is alleged to have been in China.

So far, Gillis says, Chinese authorities have not been willing to consider that evidence. He wants his wife to know he's not giving up. "We are trying very hard to get you out. Do not lose faith. We have not forgotten about you," said Gillis.

The Chinese Consulate here in Houston did not return repeated calls for comment.

Sandy's husband says he's retained the services of the best civil rights attorneys in China in an effort to try and bring her home.

For more on those efforts you can visit SaveSandy.org.

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