August 15, 2015: #SetThemFree Campaign Updates

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Venezuela: Opposition leader granted house arrest

Daniel Ceballos, former mayor of San Cristobal and one of the most prominent anti-government figures in Venezuela, was granted house arrest on August 12, after spending a year-and-half in prison. This rather surprising release offers some hope for the release of other imprisoned human rights activists, considering that Daniel Ceballos was jailed with heavy charge of “civil rebellion” and with upcoming elections scheduled for December 6 of this year.


Angola: Artists for freedom

Several artists, writers and singers in Portugal have joined in this video to call for the release of political prisoners in Angola. On June 20, police in Luanda arrested 13 activists who had been reading books on peaceful means for achieving political goals. Along with two other activists who were arrested two days later and investigative journalist Rafael Marques de Morais, an increasing number of activists are being imprisoned on spurious charges amid an intensifying crackdown by the Angolan government.

Azerbaijan: Injustice for human rights activists continues

The harsh sentencing of Leyla Yunus, who was given eight-and-a-half years in prison for fraud and tax evasion, and her husband, Arif Yunus, who was given seven years on similar charges, underscores continued government crackdown on human rights activists in Azerbaijan. They have been in prison on politically-motivated charges since their arrest nearly a year ago, and still face separate charges of treason, which carry a life sentence. Furthermore, imprisoned investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova’s trial began on August 7 after eight months of detention on politically motivated charges. No activists, journalists, or family members were allowed access to the trial, of which has been arbitrarily adjourned until August 10.