Freedom Now joins people around the world in mourning the passing of former Czech President, playwright, and dissident Václav Havel. Havel served as Freedom Now’s honorary co-chair since 2006, imbuing our work with the moral urgency of his personality.

Havel’s involvement with Freedom Now was an extension of his lifelong commitment to individual rights and human freedoms. As honorary co-chair, Havel engaged on many of Freedom Now’s cases, including those of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Aung San Suu Kyi and Liu Xiaobo, both of whom Havel nominated for the prize.

“President Havel was more than a renowned international figure to me,” said Jared Genser, founder of Freedom Now. “He was a personal inspiration and actively engaged in helping many of our clients who, like him, were detained for nothing more than defending the most basic principles of democracy and human rights. His loss will be profoundly felt by all freedom loving people around the world whose aspirations he helped fulfill.”

Havel’s passing is an immeasurable loss, yet Freedom Now is determined to honor his legacy of activism by pressing on with its mission to free prisoners of conscience worldwide. Freedom Now wishes to send our deepest condolences to his wife, Dagmar Havlová, and the Havel family.