Released RPOCs

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. 

Released Religious Prisoners of Conscience

Dilshat Perhat Ataman China

USCIRF Advocate: Tony Perkins

Dilshat Perhat Ataman is a Uighur Muslim from the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region of western China. During the late 2000s, he ran the popular Uighur-language website, Diyarim, which focused on social and cultural issues.

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Pastor Andrew Brunson Turkey

USCIRF Advocate: Kristina Arriaga

Andrew Brunson, 50, is an American citizen who has lived in Turkey for 23 years. He is a pastor for the Izmir Diriliş (Resurrection) Church, a small evangelical Presbyterian congregation in the city of Izmir.

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Pastor A Dao Vietnam

USCIRF Advocate: James W. Carr

A Dao, resident of Gia Xieng Village, Ro Koi Commune, Sa Thay District, Kontum Province, is a Protestant pastor of the Montagnard Evangelical Church of Christ (MECC).

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Patriarch Thich Quang Do Vietnam

USCIRF Advocate: Kristina Arriaga

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.

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Hamid Kamal Mohammad bin Haydara Others

USCIRF Advocate: Johnnie Moore

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.

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Pastor Nguyen Cong Chinh and Tran Thi Hong Vietnam

USCIRF Advocate: Jackie Wolcott

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.

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Fariba Kamalabadi - The Baha'i Seven Iran

USCIRF Advocate: Kristina Arriaga

Fariba Kamalabadi was born on September 12, 1962, in Tehran, Iran. Ms. Kamalabadi graduated from high school with honors but was barred from attending university due to her Baha’i faith.

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Bagir Kazikhanov Russia

USCIRF Advocate: John Ruskay

Bagir Kazikhanov was born on September 9, 1983 in the Republic of Dagestan, an administrative entity of the Russian Federation.

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Pwint Phyu Latt and Zaw Zaw Latt Burma

USCIRF Advocate: Daniel Mark

Zaw Zaw Latt and Pwint Phyu Latt are two Muslim interfaith peace advocates who have been imprisoned since 2015.

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Mahvash Sabet - The Baha'i Seven Iran

USCIRF Advocate: Kristina Arriaga

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.

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Abdul Shakoor Pakistan

USCIRF Advocate: Johnnie Moore

Abdul Shakoor was born February 2, 1937 in Qadian, India.  He is married and the father of five daughters and two sons.  

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Mohammad Ali Taheri Iran

USCIRF Advocate: Gayle Manchin

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 ac

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Maryam Naghash Zargaran Iran

USCIRF Advocate: Clifford D. May

Maryam Naghash Zargaran, a Christian convert from Islam and former children's music teacher, was arrested on January 6, 2013.

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Freedom of Religion or Belief Victims List

Please visit USCIRF’s Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) Victims List to learn more about USCIRF’s efforts to highlight victims who are targeted due to their religion or belief.