Ethiopia: On July 7, 2017, Chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), Dr. Merera Gudina, will appear in court for a scheduled hearing. Dr. Gudina has been detained since December 2016 for violating Ethiopia’s six-month state of emergency by associating with exiled opposition leaders at the European Parliament’s human rights hearing last fall. Since the initial charges were brought against him, the government moved to combine Dr. Gudina’s case with an absentia case against Jawar Mohammed, the head of the Oromia Media Network (OMN). Mohammed fled to the United States after his network was banned for their anti-government content in Ethiopia. Dr. Gudina’s lawyers are fighting the decision – which could result in a harsher sentence – and “claim any charges pressed against him should be separated” from those of OMN and ESAT.
Member of the European Parliament (EP) and World Movement for Democracy Steering Committee, Ana Gomes, criticized human rights abuses against members of the opposition, as well as Dr. Gudina’s imprisonment in a recent EP statement. Click here to join Gomes and the World Movement for Democracy in asking the Ethiopian government to #SetThemFree!
China: Last week, Liu Xiaobo, Chinese human rights activist and Nobel Peace Laureate, was transferred to a hospital for liver cancer treatment, a condition worsened by his unjust prison sentence. Liu was sentenced to 11-years in prison in 2008 for “inciting subversion” after coauthoring “Charter 08,” which demanded democratic reform. Charter 08 was signed by over 350 Chinese intellectuals and civic leaders. His wife, Liu Xia, stated he is “beyond treatment.” To express solidarity with him, 154 Nobel Laureates signed a letter urging the President of China Xi Jinping to allow Xiaobo and his wife to travel to abroad for medical treatment. Click here to join the World Movement for Democracy, international human rights organizations, and global leaders in calling upon the Chinese government to give Xiaobo complete freedom and #SetThemFree!
Bahrain: Bahraini activist and President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) Nabeel Rajab’s trial was postponed for the 14th time this year, and is now scheduled to take place on July 2, 2017. Two weeks ago, his lawyer protested the unfair treatment of Rajab by walking out on the scheduled trial, which Rajab was too ill to attend. Rajab has been in a hospital since April 2017 after undergoing surgery. His family have had no access to him and are worried he will be forced to return to prison. However, Rajab’s son remains hopeful, saying “My father is sacrificing himself to see a country which respects human rights, and he is happy to do that. I’m not exaggerating when I say he is unbreakable.” Click here to join us in sharing Rajab’s story and asking the government of Bahrain to #SetThemFree!
On June 4, 2017, Burmese authorities arrested U Tun Tun Oo, leader of the Human Rights Activists Association, citing Burma’s notorious Telecommunications Law. He was arrested for livestreaming the play “We Want No War,” which is critical of the army’s historical persecution of ethnic groups. Two days before his arrest, Burmese authorities detained two journalists under the Telecommunications Law for publishing an article that allegedly “mocked” the army’s role in the country’s recent civil war for allegedly violating the same law. While Article 66(d) of Burma’s Telecommunications Law was originally written to prevent “defamation” over the internet, it has been manipulated by security forces to target individuals who are critical of the government. Since April 2016, the military and the government have cited the law in 61 defamation cases against Burmese citizens, despite heavy criticism from local free speech advocates. Click here to join us in sharing this story and asking the government of Burma to #SetThemFree!
Venezuela: On May 23, 2017, Venezuelan activist, Antonietta Ledezma, spoke at the Oslo Freedom Forum, a global human rights conference, where she advocated for the release of all Venezuelan political prisoners. Ledezma explained that Venezuela is “going through the cruelest dictatorship of [its] history,” and has witnessed a complete “criminalization of politics.” Ledezma is one of several women leading the pro-democracy movement and working for the release of political prisoners in Venezuela. Last month, thousands of women organized massive peaceful marches under their #SueltaTuArma Campaign, which called upon members of the Venezuelan military to “drop their weapons,” and support human rights in the country. Ledezma is also the daughter of former Mayor of Caracas, Antonio Ledezma, who has been under house arrest since 2015. Join the SetThemFree Campaign and learn the stories of Venezuelan political prisoners here.
Bahrain: On May 17, 2017, the trial of Bahraini activist and President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), Nabeel Rajab, was postponed for the thirteenth time. His trial is now scheduled to take place on June 14, 2017 by which time he will have sat in prison for 12 months without trial. Civil society members have amped up their advocacy efforts calling for the release of Rajab and other political prisoners:
The “Freedom for Nabeel: Not One More Day” Thunderclap Campaign calls for Rajab’s release, which you can join here.
The #WeHearYou Campaign calls upon individuals to take a picture of themselves blindfolded to express solidarity with detainees who are regularly blindfolded and tortured by Bahraini authorities.
Ethiopia: On May 16, 2017, the Ethiopian Federal High Court found Yonatan Tesafaye, spokesperson for the pro-democracy Blue Party, guilty of terrorism charges. Tesfaye may be sentenced up to 20 years in prison. In December 2015, Ethiopian authorities arrested Tesafaye for his Facebook posts criticizing the government, which they believe played a role in triggering the massive demonstrations in the Oromia region of the country. A month before Tesafaye’s arrest, Oromo demonstrators protested against the historical exclusion of the Oromo people from Ethiopia’s political and economic systems. Following the ruling, hundreds of people joined the World Movement in expressing solidarity with Tesafaye on Twitter.Click here to view our Storify compilation of the discussion.
UPDATE: On April 12, 2017, the Azerbaijani court ruled to uphold the two-year prison sentence of Mehman Huseynov on charges of defamation.
March 10, 2017
On March 3, 2017, a Baku court sentenced Azerbaijani human rights activist Mehman Huseynov to two years in prison on “defamation” charges. He is the Chairman of the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS), an Azerbaijani organization promoting freedom of expression. Three days before receiving his sentence, Mehman produced and shared a video about the appointment of Mehriban Aliyeva, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s wife to the office of First Vice President. The video features Mehman asking passersby if they would also appoint their wife to a vice president position if they were a leader of a company.
Mehman has documented the deteriorating political freedoms in Azerbaijan through powerful photographs that captured the world’s attention, and received the Norwegian Nobel Institute’s Press Prize. In 2012, the World Youth Movement for Democracy selected Mehman’s powerful photograph of Azerbaijani police brutality against citizens as a winner in the “Youth in Action: a Snapshot of Democracy” contest. The photojournalist’s brave reporting has made him a frequent target of extreme state-sponsored harassment, including arrests, travel bans, interrogations and assaults.
Nearly two months before his imprisonment, unidentified policemen abducted and tortured Mehman. The next day, January 10, 2017, Nasimi District Police fined Mehman for “disobeying the police.” Sadly, in Azerbaijan, this is part of a larger pattern of repression of the free press. The previous head of IRFS, Azerbaijani journalist Rasim Aliyev, served as Chairman until his tragic death on August 9, 2015. Unknown attackers murdered the influential journalist during a brutal crackdown on Azerbaijan’s civil society. Mehman’s brother, and IRFS founder Emin Huseynov has also been a target of severe police harassment. The European Court of Human Rights found that the Nasimi District Police were guilty of torturing Emin two years ago, before he fled Azerbaijan due to intense state-sponsored harassment. In October 2015, Emin received asylum in Switzerland, where he now resides.
On January 16, 2017, leading members of Azerbaijani civil society issued a public letter urging the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) to respond to human rights violations in Azerbaijan. The letter asked for a reinstatement of a special rapporteur on political prisoners in Azerbaijan, the appointment of an ethical commission to the Council, and an independent investigation into allegations of corruption in PACE. Shortly after the letter was published, the current President of PACE Pedro Agramunt called upon Azerbaijani authorities to releasepolitical prisoner and leader of the Republican Alternative Movement (REAL) Ilgar Mammadov. Mehman now joins Ilgar and at least 119 other political prisoners, who are behind bars because they expressed dissent in Azerbaijan.
Ladies in White – a group of Cuban mothers and relatives protesting on behalf of political prisoners – have experienced intensified state-sponsored harassment for over 90 consecutive weeks. Last week, the harassment of UNPACU escalated when the Cuban National Revolutionary Police (PNR) attacked and raided the organization’s headquarters in Santiago, Cuba. During the raid, the PNR arrested and detained eight UNPACU members without charges; their current location is unknown, but their detainments mean there are now 55 members of UNPACU who are currently political prisoners. Carlos Ponce, Director of Freedom House’s Latin America programs and World Movement for Democracy participant, has lambasted the attacks as an attempt to silence opposition in Cuba.
On February 24, 2017, Cuban political prisoner and UNPACU member Hamell Santiago Más Hernández died after nearly 10 months behind bars at the Combinado del Este Prison in Havana, Cuba. During his arbitrary detention, Hernández lived under inhumane prison conditions and was denied access to a trial and medical assistance, all of which likely contributed to his tragic death. Cuban authorities arbitrarily arrested him for protesting, and accused the activist of “contempt and public disorder” last June.
Meet Venezuelan activist Lilian Tintori, who has been working to support democracy in Venezuela and the release of political prisoners. In 2014, the Venezuelan gov’t imprisoned Tintori’s husband and Venezuelan democracy activist, Leopoldo Lopez, for his involvement in the country’s February 2014 protests. Since then, Tintori has met with international leaders to discuss the imprisonment of Lopez and other political prisoners in Venezuela. Help Lilian SetThemFree by sharing her story! Share this post & stand in solidarity with the political prisoners of Venezuela.
The World Movement for Democracy welcomes the release of Venezuelan political prisoner and prominent opposition activist, Rosmit Mantilla. On November 17, 2016, Mantilla was freed after being arbitrarily detained for 2.5 years in Venezuela due to charges stemming from the country’s 2014 student protests. In the 2015 elections, he became the first openly gay politician to be elected to the National Assembly of Venezuela. Another activist with dual citizenship from Venezuela and the United States, Francisco Marquez, was also recently released. Since their release, Mantilla has assumed his position at the National Assembly, and like Marquez, is advocating for the release of political prisoners in Venezuela. Many other activists remain behind bars in Venezuela, read their stories and find out how you can help at helpsetthemfree.org.
On October 28, 2016, Eduard Palchys, Belarusian blogger and founder of the website 1863x.com, was released from prison after 9 months in pre-trial detention. After being released, Palchys credited the international solidarity efforts for his release, stating, “…I thought they would imprison me for three years. The sentence is the result of the civil society’s support. No one needs people serving in jail over politics.” Join the #SetThemFree Campaign in expressing solidarity with political prisoners around the world by learning their stories here.
Original #SetThemFree Advocacy Facebook Post for Palchys:
SHARE: SPEAK UP FOR EDUARD PALCHYS! On October 25, 2016, Belarusian blogger (1863x.com),Eduard Palchys, was found guilty of inciting hatred and distributing pornography. The Belarusian human rights community believes the charges are motivated by Eduard’s criticisms of the Belarusian and Russian regimes, which he anonymously published under his pen name “@Jhon Silver.” Eduard has already served almost a year in jail after being detained under these politically motivated charges in Russia in January 2016. On Friday, October 28, Eduard will receive his sentence which may be as much as 3.5 years in prison.
We could still influence the final court’s decision and we need your SUPPORT to do it.
TELL the Belarusian government that the world is watching and stands with Eduard. Please SHARE this post and help spread the word.
On August 7, 2016, the Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) monitored Thailand’s local polling stations for the 2016 Thailand constitutional referendum, despite being refused accreditation by the country’s government. The referendum passed with 61% voting in favor of the new constitutional provisions. ANFREL issued a statement after the vote voicing their concerns about the restrictions imposed on Thai citizens leading up to the election.
The country’s military backed the referendum which will prolong military rule. The new upper house will be appointed by the military and its allies and will join the lower house in voting for the prime minister. Prior to the vote, the junta squashed public debate regarding the proposed constitution by imposing laws that banned protests and outlawing public education campaigns. People who violated the ban, like the “Vote No” campaigners, are facing possible prison sentences upwards of 10 years and fines up to $5,600. The World Movement for Democracy joins the international community in condemning the crackdown on “Vote No” campaigners and asks the government to respect their right to a fair trial under Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The World Movement for Democracy recently interviewed, Berta Soler, leader of the Ladies in White, about the struggles and triumphs of being an activist in Cuba. The Ladies in White – mothers, wives and relatives protesting on behalf of political prisoners – are frequently targets of state-sponsored violence in Cuba. Cuban authorities often disrupt, arrest, and physically assault the peaceful activists during their weekly Sunday marches. Despite the government’s brutality, the Ladies in White have continued to march on, garnering support from the international community, and inspiring Cuban activists to stand up for democracy. Watch the trailer here.
Activists have even resorted to life-threatening hunger strikes to advance their protest against the state’s use of violence. The protestors include leading Cuban dissidents Guillermo Farina and Carlos Amel Oliva who have been on a hunger strike for the last month. Farina, a Sakharov prize winner, and Oliva, a leader of Union Patriotica de Cuba (UNPACU), were joined by twenty activists in the hope of ending the state-sponsored violence against them. Though Oliva and fellow UNPACU activists have ended their initial month long hunger strike, Farina has kept going, announcing that he is ready to die for their cause. The World Movement for Democracy has issued a DemocracyAlert in solidarity with the strikers’ struggle and calls for the Cuban government to end its harassment of civil society.
The World Movement For Democracy (WMD) is pleased to be celebrating the release of an Azeri investigative journalist, Khadija Ismayilova, and prominent Bahraini activist, Zainab Al-Khawaja. Ismayilova served as head of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Azerbaijan service and published extremely detailed accounts of rampant corruption by President Aliyev and his family, making her a target of harassment by the Azerbaijan government. Like Ismayilova, Al-Khawaja also spoke out against an oppressive government and was jailed for exercising freedom of expression while protesting. In December 2014, Al-Khawaja was sentenced to three years in prison for criticizing the police and tearing up a picture of King Hamad.
On May 25, 2016 the Supreme Court of Azerbaijan acquitted Ismayilova of embezzlement and abuse of power and ordered her release from prison, but upheld two other convictions for which Ismayilova received a three and a half year suspended sentence. Upon being freed, Ismayilova stated: “They didn’t succeed in silencing me,” and confirmed she will continue her investigative reporting. Al-Khawaja was released May 31, 2016 on humanitarian grounds because of her one-year old son, (who had been living in prisonwith her). However, the charges against Al-Khawaja remain, and she is still at risk of re-arrest, according to her sister.
Although Ismayilova and Al-Khawaja’s high profile releases are encouraging to the international community, oppressive governments continue to intimidate activists and many political prisoners remain behind bars. The Set Them Free campaign urges the release of opposition leader Seymur Azi (Haziyev), an Azerbaijani reporter and leading anchor for opposition satellite Azerbaijan Saati (Azerbaijani Hour); and Ilgar Mammadov, leader of the Republicans Alternative Movement, who are among many still imprisoned in Azerbaijan. In Bahrain Al-Khawaja’s father, a Director at the Gulf Centre For Human Rights, Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, is still serving a life imprisonment sentence for protesting in the Bahraini uprising. Bahraini activists Abdujalil Al-Singace, a blogger imprisoned for criticizing the Bahrain government, and Sheikh Abdullah Isa Al-Mahroos, Vice President of the Al-Zahraa Society of Orphans, are still detained and charged with attempting to overthrow the government.
On May 27, 2016, Chinese authorities detained seven activists in Beijing, and the Sichuan Province, after a photograph was posted online showing six of them calling for the commemoration of Tiananmen Massacre, as well as the release of political prisoners Guo Feixiong (郭飞雄), and the detained Yu Shiwen (于世文). Three other activists were detained in Sichuan and Chengdu for producing a wine label with the phrase: “Remember June 4th, 1989” and sharing an image of it online. Nine of the ten activists are being held on charges for “suspicion of picking quarrels and provoking troubles,” and one of the activists is facing the charge of “inciting subversion of state power.”
Xi Jinping’s crackdown on civil society has made it dangerous for Chinese activists to stage public demonstrations or protest online. A common tactic has been to use the 2013 Chinese interpretation of law (the English translation is available online) to arrest activists for posting pro-democracy content online.
The #Set Them Free Campaign is dedicated to promoting awareness about individuals unjustly imprisoned, but China’s roster of political prisoners continues to grow. Lu Xiaobo, a renowned Chinese literary writer and political activist, has been in prison since 2009 for allegedly “spreading a message to subvert the country and authority.” The 2010 Nobel Peace Prize recipient has been sentenced to 11 years in prison in China. The World Movement for Democracy condemns China’s detainment of activists and urges the Chinese government to #SetThemFree.
On April 14, a peaceful protest in support of electoral reform organized by the main opposition party, United Democratic Party (UDP), was broken up violently by police. Scores of activists were arrested. Amongst the protesters was Solo Sandeng, the opposition party’s National Organizing Secretary, who later died in police custody of unknown causes.
In response to the mass arrests and the suspicious death of Solo Sandeng, the African Movement for Democracy published a statement on behalf of 35 organizations from 20 countries, which condemns the repressive measures of the Gambian government. The statement urged for the immediate release of protesters, an independent investigation into the cause of Mr. Sandeng’s death, and the institution of electoral reforms demanded by the Gambian citizens. Read the full statement in English and French.
For two years, Azerbaijan has cracked down on civil society and independent media, detaining more than 100 people. However, on March 17, 2016, the government of Azerbaijan released more than a dozen political prisoners. The newly released prisoners include: journalist Rauf Mirgadirov; youth movement activist Rashadat Akhundov of N!DA; Mahammad Azizov of N!DA; Rashad Hasanov of N!DA; journalist Parviz Hashimli; human rights defender Rasul Jafarov; blogger Siraj Karimli. Read more about this news here.
Despite this welcoming development, many others are still in prison, including: Khadija Ismailovac, Intigam Aliyev, Seymur Hazi, Rauf Mirgadirov, Ilgar Mammadov, and Tofiq Yaqublu, among many others. Find more information on Azerbaijani political prisoners here.
Ethiopia: As of mid-October, all Zone 9 Bloggers have been acquitted and released from detention. Though many may regard this as a victory for freedom of expression, let the experience of the Zone 9 Bloggers remind the world of how much more work needs to be done to support civil society in the country.
Azerbaijan: Human rights defender Leyla Yunus was freed from prison on December 9, on grounds of her deteriorating health. Both Leyla and her fellow activist husband still face treason charges, widely regarded as political retaliation for their work. Leyla remains on probation for the next five years under her guilty unjust verdict.
On December 10th, Human Rights Day, we invited activists from around the world to join in solidarity to demand the release of all Azerbaijani political prisoners remaining today. Sign this letter to support the release of political prisoners in Azerbaijan for the new year!
Cuba: Danilo Maldonado, better known as the Cuban artist El Sexto, was imprisoned for 10 months without charges for his attempt to display his painting of 2 pigs labeled as Raul and Fidel Castro. “He’s just an artist who tried to do an art show, to use his legitimate right to freedom of expression,” Robin Guittard of Amnesty International expressed. “That should never lead people to be sent to prison.”
Venezuela: Historic elections in Venezuela have brought the opposition to a two-thirds majority in the Congress. This supermajority should empower democratic forces in Congress to pass reforms and an amnesty bill for political prisoners, as well as organize a referendum on recalling President Maduro, but opposition from the government and its efforts to entrench itself should put significant obstacles in the way.
After receiving almost 1,500 votes, the song “Barricades of Hate #SetThemFree,” produced by The Solution Is You Inc of Trinidad and Tobago, was selected on November 4 as the winning entry of the #SetThemFree song contest. The winner will be named the “#SetThemFree Ambassador” for one year and will represent the Campaign at the 2016 CIVICUS World Assembly in Bogota, Colombia. Thank you all of you for being part of our initiative!
Watch the winning music video as it was premiered at the World Movement for Democracy closing ceremony in Seoul, Korea.
We encourage you to also listen and share the other finalists’ songs here:
One voice can make a change! We are looking for talented musicians to lend their voice on behalf of political prisoners by creating a new song using themes from the #SetThemFree Campaign: global solidarity, collective action, protest, public awareness, hope, etc.
The winner from among the top 5 semi-finalists will be named the #SetThemFree Ambassador for one year, and represent the Campaign at the 2016 CIVICUS World Assembly in Bogota, Colombia, with costs covered.
To enter, upload your song to YouTube and send the link to firstname.lastname@example.org. All entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. E.D.T. on October 11th, 2015.
Learn more on how to enter the contest! For some inspiration, check out this songin support of prisoners of conscience by Pakistani musician, Taimur Rahman, and Kenyan musician, Dan Aceda.
Azerbaijan: Injustice for human rights activists continues
On September 1, 2014, Khadija Ismayilova, one of Azerbaijan’s most prominent investigative reporters, was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison on politically motivated charges. Human rights defenders Leyla and Arif Yunus were also convicted on August 13, with Leyla sentenced to eight and half years in jail, and Arif to seven. Both continue to endure extremely worrying health situations. A group of United Nations human rights experts recently condemnedtheir sentencing as “manifestly politically motivated and representative of the continuing repression of independent civil society in Azerbaijan.”
Belarus: Political prisoners pardonned
Former Belarusian presidential candidate Mikalay Statkevich was pardoned by President Alyaksandr Lukashenka and released on August 22 from prison, where he had been for five years following a crackdown on opposition protestors. He was released along with five other political prisoners, Mikalay Dedkov, Ihar Olinevich, Yauhen Vaskovich, Artsyom Prokopenko, and Yury Rubtsov. The release of the six prisoners comes just two months before the presidential election, due to be held on October 11.
Venezuela: Opposition leader handed harsh sentence
Opposition leader Leopoldo López was sentenced to 13 years and 9 months in prison-of a maximum possible of 14 years under Venezuela’s Criminal Code. López was arbitrarily detained on February 18, 2014 in Caracas, after leading massive peaceful demonstrations calling for President Nicolás Maduro to step down. The criminal proceedings against López were riddled with due process violations. The #SetThemFree campaign released a video message on International Day of Democracy 2015 to highlight the struggles of democracy activists and political prisoners like Leopoldo López around the world.
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.
Bahrain: Nabeel Rajab Released – On July 13, prominent human rights defender Nabeel Rajab was released from his six-month sentence after being pardoned by King Hamad. He was arrested on April 2, 2015 for a series of tweets for exposing the government’s complicity in human rights violations, and faced a three-year jail sentence. Rajab has been detained on several occasions for his activism and has served several prison sentences since setting up the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights in 2002.
Ethiopia: Calls to Release Remaining Bloggers – Following more than a year in prison, five Ethiopian Zone 9 bloggers and journalists were finally released with all their charges dropped on July 8 and 9. The remaining four bloggers – Befeqadu Hailu, Natnael Feleke, Atnaf Berahane and Abel Wabela – still remain behind bars on terrorism charges. These arrests are part of a systematic repression of independent media in the country, and actions are ongoing to set the other political prisoners free.
On June 24, supporters of political prisoners in Venezuela from all over the world will send a loud and clear message to President Nicolás Maduro – it is time to #SetThemFree!
The World Movement for Democracy has been rallying individuals and organizations to connect their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts to a global Thunderclap campaign calling for the release of the more than 100 political prisoners in Venezuela. As a result, a collective message will be simultaneously broadcast on the networks of 100+ social media profiles:
“I stand with #Venezuela political prisoners. Join me in telling #NicolasMaduro – it’s time to #SetThemFree!”
The #SetThemFree Campaign aims to bring awareness to the struggle of countless individuals unjustly imprisoned for challenging oppressive laws and standing up for human rights in their countries.
This global action campaign is being organizing through Thunderclap, a tool that allows people to share the same message at the same time on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Similar to crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter, Thunderclap asks backers to donate tweets and social media posts to their followers and friends rather than money. Thus, signing onto a campaign using your social media account authorizes Thunderclap to share a post or Tweet on your behalf, and allows a single post to be mass-shared and rise above the multitude of messages on our social networks.
The goal for this campaign is to reach 100 supporters (or individual social media profiles) by June 24 – which marks the Battle of Caribibo, a public holiday in Venezuela honoring the Armed Forces. If the goal is reached by that date, the following message will be simultaneously blasted on 100+ social media profiles:
“I stand with #Venezuela political prisoners. Join me in telling #NicolásMaduro – it’s time to #SetThemFree!”
With the #SetThemFree Campaign, we aim to bring awareness to the struggle of countless individuals unjustly imprisoned in a variety of countries around the world for challenging oppressive laws and standing up for human rights in their countries. Our first spotlight country is Venezuela. Join the movement. Stand with political prisoners. Help #SetThemFree.
Every day, governments introduce restrictive laws and policies that shrink civic space and people’s ability to live free and meaningful lives. As a consequence, pro-democracy activists are coming under increased pressure and are being arrested in record numbers.
The #SetThemFree Campaign will call attention to the struggle of countless men and women who are unjustly imprisoned for challenging oppressive laws and standing up for human rights in their countries.
Through this campaign we will:
HIGHLIGHT the personal stories of human rights and democracy activists around the world who are political prisoners in their home countries.
ENGAGE the global public to take action online and off-line in support of these activists and urge for their immediate release.
BUILD solidarity within the international community and take a stand against governments that imprison their activists
But we need your help because our voices are harder to ignore when we speak out as ONE. Start SPREADING THE WORD today about our campaign on social media.
Together, we can raise awareness, mobilize others, and engage with stakeholders to achieve their release.