Set Them Free Campaign Updates

BAHRAIN: Due to the ongoing arrests and detainment of civil society activists in Bahrain, the Set Them Free campaign has expanded its spotlight coverage of Bahrain and its human rights activists behind bars. Learn more about the escalating crackdown on human rights in Bahrain and political prisoners at

People around the world continue to express solidarity with Nabeel Rajab, renowned Bahraini activist and President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR). Last week, Rajab was charged with making “false or malicious” comments against government authorities and was sentenced to two years in prison in absentia, as he was too ill from harsh prison conditions to attend the hearing and remained in the hospital. The European Union (EU) issued a statement criticizing the sentence and calling for his release, a request later echoed by the United Nations, the government of Norway, and several civil society organizations. Click here to join us in sharing Rajab's story and asking the government of Bahrain to #SetThemFree!

CHINA: The world is mourning the passing of Liu Xiaobo, Nobel Laureate and human rights defender, who just days ago was transferred to a hospital after almost ten years behind bars. His transfer was precipitated by his deteriorating health as he succumbed to terminal cancer, a condition that was left untreated by prison authorities. As the world grieves, we must also remember his wife Liu Xia, who still remains under house arrest.

ETHIOPIA: Ethiopian pro-democracy activist and political prisoner Dr. Merera Gudina’s hearing finally took place on July 7, after months of delays. The court refused to dismiss charges against Dr. Gudina and delayed his access to a list of prosecution witnesses until a constitutional court approves the request. His next hearing is scheduled for July 31. Click here to join Ana Gomes, member of the European Parliament (EP) and World Movement for Democracy Steering Committee, in asking the Ethiopian government to #SetThemFree!

VENEZUELA: After nearly three years in prison and one hundred days of protests calling for his release, opposition leader and political prisoner, Leopoldo Lopez, was released from prison. On July 11, Venezuelan authorities released Lopez on “humanitarian grounds” for his “health situation,” according to the Venezuelan Supreme Court. Although he remains under house arrest and lacks full freedom, Lopez is now with his family and vows to renew his efforts as a leader of the democratic opposition movement.

Fellow pro-democracy supporters celebrated the news about Lopez, but have continued to rally for the release of the estimated 400 remaining political prisoners in the country. Join Lopez and other Venezuelans in speaking up for political prisoners by learning their stories at