Alber Saber is a twenty-seven-year-old prominent activist for secular democracy in Egypt who was arrested during the recent protests in Cairo over a film made in the United States that depicts the Islamic prophet Muhammad in a negative light. Saber, raised in a Coptic Christian household, is an atheist who reportedly operates the Egyptian Atheists page on Facebook and has been a vocal critic of fundamentalist Islam.
Alexander Aan is a former Indonesian civil servant who, in January 2012, posted messages to Facebook expressing his lack of belief in a god, as well as several cartoons about the Islamic prophet Muhammad.
Asia Bibi is a Christian mother of five who was living as a farm worker in Pakistan. In 2010, Bibi was alleged to have made blasphemous remarks following a disagreement with a Muslim coworker who refused to drink from a container of water she carried, believing it was tainted.
Asif Mohiuddin, 29, is an engineer who is also one of Bangladesh’s most prominent atheists and runs one of the country’s most-visited websites. After partially recovering from a brutal attack by suspected fundamentalist Muslims, he was arrested and put in prison for insulting Islam.
In March and May of 2008, Iranian police arrested seven Bahá'í leaders and charged them with espionage, propaganda against the Islamic republic, and the establishment of an illegal administration. Their crime? Peacefully practicing their religion in a country where Shia Islam is the law of the land and those who belong to minority faiths, such as the Bahá'ís, are denied equal rights.
Hamad Al-Naqi is a Shia Muslim who in February and March 2012 allegedly made a series of posts on Twitter critical of the Sunni rulers of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, the Prophet Muhammad, his wife Aisha, and his followers. Several members of the National Assembly of Kuwait called for his death.
Hamza Kashgari is a twenty-three-year-old Saudi-born poet who formerly worked as a columnist for the Saudi daily newspaper al-Bilad. In February 2012, Kashgari posted messages on Twitter in which he imagined himself being in conversation with the Prophet Muhammad. Soon after, Saudi King Abdullah ordered that Kashgari be arrested “for crossing red lines and denigrating religious beliefs in God and His Prophet.”
Pussy Riot is a Russian feminist band that plays punk rock and protest music and stages public performances. The group came to notoriety in February 2012, when three of the band’s twelve members shot a music video at Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour called “Punk Prayer: Mother of God, Chase Putin Away!”
Raif Badawi, 30, is co-founder of the website Liberal Saudi Network, which was dedicated to fostering open discussion on social issues and religion but has been shut down. He has been sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes for insulting Islam.
Rimsha Masih is a young Christian girl, believed to be developmentally disabled and around fourteen years in age, who faced charges in Pakistan for allegedly burning sacred Muslim documents—a crime punishable by death in that country.
Indian-born Sanal Edamaruku is founder and president of Rationalist International, president of the Indian Rationalist Association, and author of several newsletters and books. Edamaruku gained attention in April 2012, when he exposed a supposed “miracle” at a Catholic Church by revealing that a weeping cross was actually the result of a leaky drain.
Sherry Rehman is Pakistan's ambassador to the United States. Due to a citizen complaint, she is currently under investigation for blasphemy, which could result in punishment as severe as the death penalty.
Yossawaris Chuklom, 54, is a prominent comedian (stage name: Jeng Dokchik) and activist in Thailand who was recently sentenced to two years in prison for insulting the monarchy.