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.
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 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 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.
Eurasia Project Coordinator
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.
Board of Directors
Jeremy 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 as was 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 JohnF. 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 is thefounder 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.
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 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 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.
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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?