In a new video series, we speak with the families and friends of eight political prisoners in Azerbaijan, China, and Venezuela to learn more about their cases and what life is like after they’ve been unjustly taken from their communities.



Jiang Tianyong and “709” Prisoners

Meet Jiang Tianyong—a human rights lawyer who was forcibly disappeared for 199 days and held for a year without trial for his work. We spoke with his wife to learn more about his unjust imprisonment and what life is like for the families of human rights defenders in China.


Gilber Caro

Meet Gilber Caro—a former parliamentarian with the Venezuela National Assembly who was detained for over a year and a half. In prison, Gilber was tortured and lost over 40 pounds. His sister tell us more about the devastating impact his imprisonment has had on his family, and implores the international community to speak out on behalf of political prisoners in Venezuela.

Gregory Sanabria

Meet Gregory Sanabria—a student activist who was arbitrarily detained for almost four years for participating in the 2014 demonstrations in the Táchira state. While in prison, Gregory was tortured with beatings, electric shocks, and by being dunked in cold water. We spoke with his sister to learn more about his unjust imprisonment and what her family’s life was like without him.

Wilmer Azuaje

Meet Wilmer Azuaje—a member of the legislative council in Venezuela’s Barinas state who was detained and sentenced for attending protests, despite parliamentary immunity. While detained, Wilmer was held incommunicado for 70 days. We spoke with his wife to learn more about his unjust imprisonment and what their family’s life was like without him.


Over the past decade, authorities in Azerbaijan have prosecuted hundreds of activists, journalists, and public figures on politically motivated charges like drug possession, tax evasion, illegal entrepreneurship, and even treason. As of January 2018, reports indicate there are around 130 political prisoners being held in Azerbaijan. However, these prisoners are more than statistics–they’re husbands, wives, colleagues, friends, sons, and mothers.

Fuad Ahmadli

Meet Fuad Ahmadli—a leader of the Youth Committee of Azerbaijan Popular Front Party. Fuad was arrested shortly after organizing a peaceful opposition demonstration and was sentenced to four years. For Fuad’s family, the voice of the international community is the most powerful tool for freeing their son. Listen to their message below and share his story with your networks.

Seymur Hazi

Meet Seymur Hazi— a journalist and senior politician in Azerbaijan. Seymur was sentenced to five years on charges of “hooliganism” after being attacked while waiting for the bus. We spoke with Seymur’s wife and father to learn more about his story and to hear how his imprisonment has impacted their lives. Stand in solidarity with Seymur by sharing his story—it deserves to be heard.

Ilkin Rustamzade

Meet Ilkin Rustamzade—a youth activist who was sentenced to eight years in prison during his senior year of university for organizing peaceful protests against poor working conditions in the national army. Ilkin remains one of the longest held political prisoners in Azerbaijan. We spoke with his mother and father to learn more about his unjust imprisonment and what their life is like without their son.

Giyas Ibrahimov

Meet Giyas Ibrahimov—an activist who at the age of 22 was arrested, tortured, and sentenced to ten years on false charges for painting anti-government slogans on a statue in Baku. Since Giyas’s arrest, his mother and father have been forced to distance themselves from their relatives for publicly supporting their son. We spoke with them to learn more about his case and about the price they’ve had to pay at the hands of the government.

Ilgar Mammadov

Meet Ilgar Mammadov—a husband, a father, and a former political prisoner in Azerbaijan. For 5 years, Ilgar was forced to serve an unjust sentence related to his intent to run for presidential elections. Ilgar continues to face threats from the government for his vocal disagreement with the regime. Hear his story, as told by his wife, and share his message to stand in solidarity.