About Us

Mission Statement

Freedom Now protects individuals and communities from government repression and defends human rights through direct legal support, targeted high-leverage advocacy, and capacity-building analysis and assistance.

Since 2001, Freedom Now has sought to end arbitrary detention and associated human rights abuses. For nearly two decades we have provided pro bono legal representation to individual prisoners of conscience throughout the world. We have represented nearly 200 wrongfully detained individuals, lifting up voices that authoritarian governments seek to silence. We have won cases before international legal tribunals and mobilized influential allies to bring maximum pressure to bear on repressive regimes.

Politically-motivated prosecution is not the only tool used to suppress fundamental rights. Oppressive laws and corrupt institutions are a direct threat to civil society and democratic norms.  Freedom Now understands a holistic approach is necessary to truly combat human rights abuses. To this end, we work on several interconnected issues, including prison conditions, transnational repression, rehabilitation of former prisoners of conscience, and supporting civil society and international action.

You can read about our recent successes in our 2019 Annual Report. An archive of our past annual reports can be found here.


Maran Turner

Executive Director

Maran Turner is executive director of Freedom Now. Prior to joining Freedom Now, she was a lawyer with the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) in Johannesburg, South Africa from 2006 to 2007, where she managed a team of pro bono lawyers and worked with Southern African jurists on human rights litigation. Prior to her position with SALC, she was an associate with DLA Piper LLP (US) where she was honored as Pro Bono Attorney of the Year for her international human rights work representing notable human rights defenders such as former Czech Republic President Václav Havel and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Desmond Tutu. Maran holds a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin and a J.D. cum laude from the University of Miami.

Karl Horberg

Program Director

Karl Horberg joined Freedom Now in December 2014. Previously, he was an Operations Manager for a grant writing consulting firm and a Program Officer for Connect U.S. Fund, where he managed a grant portfolio of $2 million. Karl served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Balykchy, Kyrgyzstan from 2004-2006. He holds a BA in Political Science from American University and an MSC in Human Rights from the London School of Economics.

Adam Lhedmat

Legal Officer

Adam Lhedmat is a legal officer at Freedom Now. Prior to joining Freedom Now, he was a Staff Attorney with the International Justice Resource Center where he provided support to advocates bringing claims before regional and universal human rights systems. Additionally, Adam previously worked both with the WANA Institute where he researched transitional justice solutions for the Syrian conflict, and with the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners where he participated in advocacy efforts to release political prisoners in Myanmar. He holds a J.D. from the University California, Irvine School of Law, as well as an MPhil in Philosophy from the University of Cambridge and a B.A. in Philosophy from New York University.

Matthew Schaaf

Advocacy Director

Matthew Schaaf is Advocacy Director at Freedom Now. Prior to joining Freedom Now, he was director of Freedom House’s office in Ukraine (2016-2021), where he managed programs and advocacy aimed at strengthening human rights protections, civic engagement, and the rule of law. In other capacities at Freedom House (2011-2015), he developed and implemented initiatives to support LGBT+ human rights defenders, support anti-torture institutions, and expand media freedom. Before Freedom House, he worked at Human Rights Watch in Russia and the Friends Committee on National Legislation in Washington, DC. Schaaf, who is fluent in Russian, holds a B.A. from the University of Rochester and a Master of International Affairs degree from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

Follow him on Twitter at @schfm.

Zubaida Akbar

Program Officer

Zubaida Akbar is a leading women's rights and civil society activist from Afghanistan. She has over a decade of experience working inside Afghanistan to promote equality, women and children's rights, and democracy. She is currently based in the US, where she has lived since 2018. Zubaida also serves on the Advisory Board of FEMENA, an organization that supports Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRDs) including Afghan WHRDs and feminist movements.  She has been deeply involved in addressing the recent crisis in Afghanistan.

Throughout her career, Zubaida has worked with various international organizations inside and outside of Afghanistan as a communication, campaign, and advocacy expert.

Zubaida holds an undergraduate degree in Law and Political Science.

Tamar Chanturia

Eurasia Project Coordinator

Tamar Chanturia is Freedom Now’s Eurasia Project Coordinator. Prior to joining Freedom Now, Tamar worked for Penal Reform International where she supported PRI’s work on reforming the criminal justice system in South Caucasus, specifically Georgia, by bringing expertise from her previous experience working with local and international experts as the head of the group of probation officers of female and juvenile offenders. In the past, Tamar worked for the National Probation Agency and the Law Office, where she participated in drafting the applications to the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of the clients. Tamar is a member of Georgian Bar (GBA), American Probation and Parole Association (APPA), and a fellow of the Professional Fellows Program (PFP). She is a co-author of guidance documents on international standards on Juvenile Justice and Georgian penitentiary and probation systems’ responses to COVID-19 concerning reducing the damage caused by the restrictions.

Madeline Dean

Administrative Assistant

Madeline Dean is the Administrative Assistant for Freedom Now. She graduated from Vassar College with an English major and a Hispanic Studies minor in 2022, and she wrote her senior thesis on literature about the Holocaust. She speaks Spanish and German.

Board of Directors

Jeremy Zucker

Jeremy Zucker is the Chair of Freedom Now and a partner in the international trade group of Dechert LLP in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining Dechert, Jeremy was a partner in the international trade group of Hogan Lovells. Jeremy also served as a law clerk at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, The Netherlands. Jeremy holds a B.A. in ethics, politics, and economics from Yale University, a Master in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a J.D. magna cum laude from New York University Law School, where he was editor-in-chief of the NYU Journal of International Law and Politics and a Fellow of the Center for International Studies.

Peter Magyar

Peter Magyar is the founder of Magyar & Co, a boutique international law firm. Previously he was Senior Partner and General Counsel of an international investment group with over $6 billion of assets and a Partner of Baker & McKenzie, where he headed the firm’s European securities practice and was a member of the London office’s Management Committee and the Managing Partner of its Budapest office. Peter is the recipient of various awards and citations in the legal press recognizing his work in the fields of privatization and international capital markets. He holds degrees from The London School of Economics and Oxford University. He will be helping lead Freedom Now’s expansion into Europe.

Thomas Dohrmann

Thomas Dohrmann is a member of the Board of Directors of Freedom Now and a director of Public Sector Practice in the Americas at McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm. He works in McKinsey’s Public Sector leading the firm’s work with tax authorities and public-finance agencies and its research on public-sector productivity and fiscal management. Tom joined McKinsey in 1996 and is based in Washington, DC. In 2008-2009, Tom took a leave of absence from McKinsey and worked on President Barack Obama’s transition team providing work on financial regulation and reform. He holds a B.A. in political science from Macalester College and an MPA from Princeton University.

Gregory K. McGillivary

Gregory K. McGillivary is the managing partner in the Washington, D.C. law firm of McGillivary Steele Elkin LLP, which represents unions and employees nationwide in all areas of labor law, including wage and hour violations, First Amendment rights, collective bargaining, grievance/arbitration, and human rights related to labor advocacy. Greg served for six years as the Union Chair of the American Bar Association’s Federal Labor Standards Committee. He is the editor-in-chief of the treatise State Wage and Hour Laws and a senior editor of the treatise The Fair Labor Standards Act. He is a graduate of the University of Oregon Law School, where he was articles editor of the Oregon Law Review, and received his B.A. from Northwestern University.

Joshua Newcomer

Joshua Newcomer is an attorney in the Houston, Texas office of the law firm McKool Smith P.C. Prior to joining McKool Smith, Joshua was an attorney at the international law firm Hogan Lovells LLP. Joshua served as a law clerk to Judge Carolyn King on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and Judge William Yohn Jr. on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Joshua earned a B.A., cum laude, majoring in history and political communications from the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D., magna cum laude, from the James E. Beasley School of Law at Temple University, where he was articles editor of the Temple Law Review.

Peter Choharis

Peter Choharis is the founder of Choharis Global Solutions, an international law and consulting firm. He has more than twenty years of experience as a U.S. litigator and international dispute specialist and has appeared in trial and appellate courts at the federal and state level throughout the United States. He is also an Adjunct Fellow at the American Security Project, and prior to that was a Visiting Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. More than two dozen of his articles on foreign affairs and international law have appeared in The New York Times (Global), International Herald Tribune, Forbes, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, and many other publications. Peter graduated from Yale Law School and Harvard College, where he was awarded the Sheldon Traveling Fellowship and numerous other prizes.

Hrishikesh Hari

Hrishikesh Hari is a senior associate in the international trade group of Dechert LLP in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining Dechert, Hrishi was an associate in the international trade group of Hogan Lovells. He has represented many dozens of prisoners of conscience around the world and regularly advises boards of non-profits on a range of corporate governance matters. Hrishi holds a B.A., magna cum laude, in history and political science from Rice University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he was editor-in-chief of the Harvard Human Rights Journal.

Job Opportunities

Administrative Assistant

Freedom Now is seeking an Administrative Assistant for to support its work on behalf of individual prisoners of conscience and issues relating to arbitrary detention and rule of law. This position reports to the Program Director and will deliver direct administrative support to staff members as well as the board of directors. Successful candidates will have experience providing administrative support in a fast-paced environment and assisting in the management of the financial aspects of small organizations.

This position will be staffed in our Washington, DC office, with work to be done remotely at the outset. The salary ($35,000) and benefits, such as generous paid leave and flexible working arrangements, for this position will be commensurate with experience.

Interested candidates should submit a resume (CV), cover letter, and short writing sample to khorberg [at] freedom-now [ dot ] org. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis, and applicants are strongly encouraged to apply by July 15, 2022. Due to the high volume of qualified applicants, we will only be able to follow-up with individuals who have been selected for an interview.


  • Receive and track bills;
  • Obtain necessary approval for payments;
  • Conduct basic bookkeeping entries;
  • Manage office mail;
  • Liaise with contractors and outsourced services such as accounting and IT. Research new contractors and service providers if necessary;
  • Coordinate and arrange staff travel;
  • Order supplies;
  • Work with the Executive Director to schedule and coordinate board meetings;
  • Draft and edit social media posts and fundraising materials;
  • Prepare website updates;
  • Develop and manage fundraising tracking documents;
  • Prepare correspondence; and
  • Other related duties as assigned.


Required Skills and Experience:

  • High school diploma or GED required. Associates or bachelor’s degree preferred;
  • At least one year of prior experience providing administrative support to a non-profit organization;
  • Strong teamwork skills;
  • Ability to balance and prioritize tasks;
  • Extremely organized and detail-oriented;
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office Suite;
  • Bookkeeping experience, particularly with Quickbooks;
  • Fluency with social media and managing social media accounts. Experience with WordPress and basic website design preferred;
  • Sound judgement and integrity on handling sensitive and confidential issues;
  • Passion for human rights


Though a small office, Freedom Now is committed to creating a diverse and supportive work environment for our employees, volunteers, and partners. Freedom Now does not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, nationality, sex, gender expression or identity, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, socio-economic status, political affiliation, or any protected characteristic.

Donate Today and Help Free a Prisoner of Conscience

Can you imagine a doctor being imprisoned just for treating a patient, or a journalist detained simply for publishing an article critical of his government?