USCIRF's Religious Prisoners of Conscience Project highlights individuals imprisoned for exercising their freedom of religion or belief, as well as the dedicated advocacy of USCIRF Commissioners working for their release.
USCIRF defines Religious Prisoners of Conscience (RPOCs) as individuals who are imprisoned, detained, under house arrest, or disappeared for their religious beliefs, non-belief, identity, activity and/or advocacy for FoRB or related rights, provided that they have not used or advocated violence.
Raif Badawi is a blogger and human rights activist who co-founded the website Free Saudi Liberals in 2008. Badawi and his colleagues intended the website to encourage debate on religious and political issues in Saudi Arabia despite the country's restricted civic space.Read more >
Mubarak Bala is a self-identified atheist from Kano State in northeast Nigeria. He became well known in 2014 when the media reported that he had been forcibly drugged and committed to a psychiatric unit by his family members after telling them he was atheist.Read more >
Gedhun Choekyi Nyima was born on April 25, 1989, in Lhari County, Tibet. After the death of the 10th Panchen Lama, His Holiness the Dalai Lama chose Gedhun on May 14, 1995, to be the 11th Panchen Lama, which is the second highest position in Tibetan Buddhism.Read more >
Hu Shigen was born on November 14, 1955, in Jiangxi Province. He received his university education in Beijing and later taught at the Beijing Language Institute. The 1989 Democracy Movement, and the subsequent Tiananmen Square protests, jumpstarted Hu Shigen’s political activism.Read more >
Adil Tuniyaz is a well-known Uyghur poet, reporter at the state-run People's Radio, and author of the books Questions for an Apple and Manifesto for Universal Poetry. Tuniyaz and his wife, Nezire Muhammad Salih, were both arrested in December 2017.Read more >
Most Venerable Thich Quang Do was born on November 27, 1928 in Thai Binh Province. Patriarch of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV) since 2008, Thich Quang Do has been a lifelong advocate for democracy, religious freedom, and human rights.Read more >
The armed religious-political movement known as the Houthi sparked a civil war in Yemen when they turned against the government in 2015. They have promoted sectarian divisions and have cracked down on the tiny Yemeni Baha’i community.Read more >
Nguyen Cong Chinh is an evangelical pastor originally from the Quang Nam province, and has lived in the Central Highland provinces of Kon Tum and Gia Lai since 1985. He is a long-time pro-democracy activist and critic of the Vietnamese government’s ban on preaching in the Central Highlands.Read more >
Mahvash Sabet was born on February 4, 1953 in Ardestan, Iran. Ms. Sabet moved to Tehran when she was in the fifth grade and eventually received a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Ms. Sabet married Siyvash Sabet on May 21, 1973 and has a son and daughter.Read more >
On May 4, 2011, Taheri was again arrested and tried under charges of “touching the wrists of female patients,” “blasphemy,” “producing and distributing audio-visual material,” “interfering in medical science,” “earning illegitimate funds,” and “distribution of audio-visual products and use of acRead more >