Alief mom wants justice for son detained in China without verdict for 6 years

Jessica Willey Image
Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Alief mom wants justice for son detained 6 years in China
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Mark Swidan's mother says he has been held for six years without a verdict, living in deplorable conditions in China.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A Houston mother is desperate for help for her son who has been sitting in a jail in China for years, waiting to learn if judges think he's innocent or guilty.

Mark Swidan, 43, an artist and designer from Houston was in China in 2012 looking for home flooring and fixtures when he was detained on suspicion of being involved in a methamphetamine conspiracy, his mom said.

The evidence was thin, advocates have said. Mark was tried in 2013 but judges have never reached a verdict. So he just sits in terrible conditions, she says.

"It's horrific. The last thing I want is for him to get disappeared," said Katherine Swidan, who says her son, 6'2 and once 220 pounds, has lost almost half his body weight. "He's been detained six years."

A State Department official tells Eyewitness News, "We are concerned about Mr. Swidan's welfare and urge China to resolve this case expeditiously to ensure that Mr. Swidan is afforded full due process of law."

Katherine, who lives in Mission Bend, last talked to her son in March. Graphic artwork he had been sending stopped in January. Now she depends on monthly updates from the U.S. Consulate.

The heartbroken mother hopes someone with influence will get involved so her son can come home.

"Of course, I have hope. I'll never give up hope. I want to see him again," Katherine said.

ABC13 could not reach anyone at the Chinese Consulate in Houston for comment. A spokeswoman for Sen. Ted Cruz said he would look into the matter and respond. A request for comment to Congressman Al Green's office went unanswered.

A GoFundMe has been launched to help Mark's mother seek justice for her son.

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