Since 2011, Azerbaijan has imprisoned over 160 journalists, political opposition leaders, grassroots activists, human rights defenders, and lawyers.
Belarus has consistently targeted political opposition leaders., including the four profiled here.
Lapiro de Mbanga, was a popular singer-songwriter and political activist who was wrongfully imprisoned in Cameroon from 2008 until 2011 on charges related to the mass demonstrations that took place in Cameroon in 2008. In March 2014, he passed away after a long battle with cancer.
Lewis Medjo is a Cameroonian journalist twice arrested and imprisoned for his reporting on human rights abuses and corruption. He serves as managing editor of the weekly newspaper La Détente Libre.
China routinely uses arbitrary detention to muzzle dissent. Freedom Now has worked on four cases involving prisoners of conscience, including the case of Liu Xiaobo.
Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet is a doctor and noted advocate for human rights and democratic freedom in Cuba. He was serving a 25 year prison sentence for allegedly committing crimes against the sovereignty and integrity of the Cuban territory. Dr. Biscet was released from prison in March 2011.
Dr. Saad Eddin Ibrahim is an internationally renowned sociologist and democracy and human-rights advocate who was arrested in June 2000 and sentenced to seven years imprisonment for criticizing the Egyptian government. He was freed in March 2003.
Ethiopia has continually used its anti-terrorism laws to punish critics and imprison opposition leaders. Contained are four representative cases.
Filep Samuel Karma is a prominent Papuan political activist and former Indonesian civil servant who was sentenced to 15 years in prison for raising a banned flag at a 2004 political rally.
Iran is one of the worlds worst human rights abusers. The country detains nearly 900 prisoners of conscience from all walks of life. Contained within are profiles of four cases Freedom Now has worked on.
Serikzhan Bilash is an advocate for ethnic Kazakhs & other minorities held in detention camps in China’s Xinjiang Region. He was released in August 2019 after agreeing to a plea bargin.
Ramazan Yesergepov was the Chief Editor and founder of the Alma-Ata Info newspaper, a leading Kazakh investigative journalist and labor rights advocate. He was wrongfully imprisoned in early 2009 on charges of collection and publication of state secrets. He was released in January 2012.
Mohamed Nasheed is an activist, journalist, and politician who served as the first democratically elected president of the Maldives. After being ousted in a coup in 2012, he continued his pro-democracy activism and was sentenced to 13 years in prison on politically-motivated terrorism charges. He was released in January 2016.
Mauritania was the last country in the world to ban slavery. However, the practice still continues today. Freedom Now has worked on three cases of anti-slavery activists wrongfully imprisoned by the government.
Chakib Alkhayari (a.k.a. El-Khiari) is a Moroccan journalist and human rights activist who was wrongfully imprisoned in Morocco in February 2009. After a royal pardon, he was released in April 2011.
Freedom Now has represented four clients in Myanmar since 2009.
Saed Jadad is a prominent Omani human rights activist and blogger who was imprisoned for nine months as a result of an open letter detailing his criticism of the Omani government.
Ayub Masih was arrested in 1996 for allegedly violating Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. The Supreme Court of Pakistan reversed acquitted him of all charges and released him from death row in August 2002.
Dr. Luis Williams Pollo Rivera was arrested in August 2003 and sentenced to 10 years in prison for for allegedly rendering support to the Shining Path “through his medical knowledge.” He died in arbitrary detention in February 2012.
Mohammed al-Ajami is a Qatari poet sentenced to a 15 year sentence on charges of incitement to overthrow the government and insulting the Emir of Qatar.
Since President Paul Kagame came to power in 2000, Rwanda has steadily clamped down on all forms of dissent. Contained are profiles of four of our former clients.
Syria has routinely targeted human rights lawyers and democracy activists. Contained are profiles of two former clients.
Annakurban Amanklychev and Sapardurdy Khadzhiev are independent journalists and human rights advocates. They were arrested in 2006 and convicted on fabricated charges for possession of illegal munitions and sentenced to seven years in prison. They were released in February 2013.
Maksat Kakabaev (aka MARO) and Murad Ovezov are popular singers who were wrongfully detained in January 2011 on fabricated charges. They were sentenced to seven and five years in prison, respectively. They were released in February 2013.
Olara Otunnu is the President of the Ugandan Peoples Congress and was a presidential candidate for the 2011 general elections in Uganda. He was briefly arrested in April 2011 for his leadership in a peaceful protest against high food and gas prices and rising inflation.
Since 2005, the authorities in Uzbekistan have imprisoned hundreds of journalists, political opposition leaders, grassroots activists, human rights defenders, and lawyers. Contained are seven of our former clients.
Vietnam has accelerated its crackdown on peaceful dissent in recent years, greatly increasing the number of prisoners of conscience. Freedom Now has worked on nearly a dozen cases in the country, including the four profiled here.
Munyaradzi Gwisai, an academic and activist, was arrested in February 2011 with 44 of his colleagues during a gathering to discuss non-violent resistance. All of the activists were released in March 2011.