Category Archives: Case

Narendra Dabholkar

Narendra Achyut Dabholkar was an Indian-born rationalist.  Dabholkar was a qualified medical doctor, and founder-president of Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (MANS), an organization set up in 1989 to combat superstition in the Maharashtra state of India. Over the course of his life, Dabholkar wrote many books on superstitions, and addressed more than 3,000 public meetings.

In 2010, Dabholkar led several attempts to enact an anti-superstition law in Maharashtra, known as the Anti-Jaadu Tona Bill, or Anti-Superstition and Black Magic Ordinance.

On August 20, 2013, Dabholkar was shot and killed while out for a morning walk in the western Indian city of Pune. Just four days later, the Maharashtra legislature would approve the Anti-Superstition and Black Magic Ordinance.

In addition to his work to combat superstition,  Dabholkar was involved in social justice work. He was the founding member of Parivartan, a social action center seeking to “empower marginalised members of the community to lead lives of security, dignity, and prosperity”; and, between 1990–2010, Dabholkar was active in a movements for equality and against India’s caste system and caste-related violence.


This section will be updated as news develops on this case.

    Waleed Abu Al-Khair

    Waleed Abu Al-Khair is a  lawyer and a prominent human rights activist currently imprisoned in Saudi Arabia. He is the head of the Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia.

    In 2007, Waleed launched a statement entitled “Features of a Constitutional Monarchy,” which advocated for human rights and democracy. In 2008, he created the Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia, but both the website and the Facebook page was blocked in December 2008 and May 2009, respectively.

    In his work, Al-Khair defended many individuals seeking to express their views, and advanced a more democratic state.

    In April 2014, al-Khair was arrested and jailed for his human rights work. He was not allowed to contact either his clients or his family. Several months later, Abulkhair was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment, followed by 15 years of ban on travel. He remains imprisoned. 


    This section will be updated as news develops on this case.

    Taslima Nasrin

    Taslima Nasrin is a prominent Bangladeshi human rights activist, author, and blogger. Her works involve feminist motifs and criticisms of religion, which have gained her international fame.

    She had written against Islamic philosophy, angering many Muslims of Bangladesh, who called for a ban on her novel, Lajja. Taslima left Bangladesh in 1994 because of death threats, and spent the next ten years in exile. 

    In 2015, Nasrin was threatened with death by extremists linked to murders in Bangladesh. She currently lives in India.

    Listen to Taslima Nasrin’s interview from Point of Inquiry:

    You can also listen to this interview at the Point of Inquiry website.


    This section will be updated as news develops on this case.

      Mariam Ibrahim

      Mariam Ibrahim is a Christian woman who was sentenced to death in Sudan for apostasy. Her brother learned she was a practicing Christian who had married another Christian, and reported her to the police because her biological father was a Muslim, despite the fact that her father did not raise her. Leaving Islam is against the law in Sudan. She was arrested during her second pregnancy and gave birth to a girl in prison in May 2014.

      Sudan has a very caustic attitude and long abusive history toward Sudanese Christians. Mariam witnessed this abusive attitude because of the heavy corruption and heavy religious influence exercised in the government of Sudan. She was arrested for being a Christian despite her father being a Muslim.

      After intense pressure, the Sudanese government released Ibrahim and allowed her to escape to the United States. She currently lives in New Hampshire with her brother-in-law, where she says she will continue to advocate for victims of religious persecution.


      This section will be updated as news develops on this case.

        Raif Badawi

        Raif Badawi, 30, is founder of the website Liberal Saudi Network, which was dedicated to fostering open discussion of religion and politics in Saudi Arabia. He is also an advocate for freedom of religion, belief, and expression, and women’s rights. He is currently imprisoned in Saudi Arabia for insulting Islam.

        In 2008, Badawi was detained and questioned on charges of apostasy, but was eventually released. However, on June 17, 2012, Badawi was arrested and formally charged with insulting Islam and apostasy – the latter of which could result in punishment as severe as the death penalty. Badawi was arrested for hosting a website which features content critical of religion, and declaring May 7 as a “day for Saudi liberals.”

        While the apostasy charge would later be dropped, on July 29, 2013, a criminal court sentenced Badawi to seven years in jail and 600 lashes for his other offenses. The Court of Appeals struck down that ruling, and sent his case for review to Jeddah’s Criminal Court. He remained in prison during this process.

        On May 7, 2014, the Center for Inquiry learned that a Saudi court issued a new sentence for Raif: 10 years in prison, 1,000 lashes, and a one million riyal fine. CFI would later release a translated copy of this court ruling.

        On January 9, 2015, Saudi authorities gave Badawi the first 50 of his 1,000 lashes, prompting the Center for Inquiry to once again demand that the Saudi Arabian government end this persecution, forego this brutal punishment, and free Raif immediately.

        Badawi’s sentence and punishment has been condemned by many prominent political figures, including several foreign governmental and UN leaders and eight U.S. Senators.


        This section will be updated as news develops on this case.

        Ananta Bijoy Das

        Ananta Bijoy Das was a writer and blogger based in Bangladesh. He wrote on the Bengali freethinking blog Mukto-Mona, and authored three books on science, evolutionary science, and revolution.

        In addition, Das headed a Sylhet-based group centered on science and rationalism, and edited the quarterly magazine Jukti (Bengali for  “logic.”).

        In May 2015, Das was on his way to work when he was attacked and killed by a group of four extremists armed with machetes.


        This section will be updated as news develops on this case.

        Sherry Rehman

        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.

        In 2010, Rehman took part in an interview that was aired on Pakistani television. Muhammad Faheem Ahkter Gill, a 31-year-old businessman who owns a marble business in the city of Multan, was reportedly watching the appearance with friends and felt Rehman made comments critical of the Islamic prophet. Gill spent years trying to register a case against Rehman, and in January 2013 – for reasons unknown – Pakistan’s Supreme Court finally accepted the case and directed police to perform an investigation.

        Rehman has previously faced death threats after urging for reform to the country’s blasphemy laws. Several prominent Pakistani politicians have been assassinated for criticizing blasphemy laws, including Salmaan Taseer, the former Governor of Punjab, and Shahbaz Bhatti, the former Minister for Minority Affairs.


        This section will be updated as news develops on this case.

          Asif Mohiuddin

          Asif Mohiuddin, ~30, is an engineer and one of Bangladesh’s most prominent atheists and bloggers. He was attacked by suspected radical Muslims, then jailed for his criticism of Islamic tenets.

          On January 14, 2013, as Mohiuddin arrived to work in the capital area of Dhaka, he was brutally attacked and stabbed by a group of men. According to Haridas Saha, a surgeon at Dhaka Medical College Hospital: “The nature of the cuts proved that the attackers wanted to murder him.”

          Mohiuddin partially recovered, but was later arrested “for posting derogatory comments about Islam and the Prophet Muhammad.”

          On June 27, 2013, Mohiuddin was released on bail. However, on July 29, his plea for permanent bail was denied, and he was sent back to prison.

          Mohiuddin was eventually released on bail, and then escaped the country, but the charges against him were never dropped.


          This section will be updated as news develops on this case.

          Yossawaris Chuklom

          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.

          In March 2010, “red-shirt” political protesters who support ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra occupied parts of Thailand’s capital, Bangkok, to demand that the government of then Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva step down. During these protests, Chuklom delivered a speech in which he was allegedly critical of the monarchy.

          He was formally sentenced in January 2013, and appealed his conviction. Chuklom was released on bail in September 2014.

          People found guilty under the Thai law that criminalizes criticism of the monarchy can face up to 15 years in prison.


          This section will be updated as news develops on this case.

            Hamad Al-Naqi

            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. Al-Naqi pled not guilty, arguing that he had not posted the messages, and that his account had been hacked.

            In June 2012, Al-Naqi was found guilty of “insulting the Prophet, the Prophet’s wife and companions, mocking Islam, provoking sectarian tensions, insulting the rulers of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and misusing his mobile phone to spread the comments” and sentenced to ten years in prison.

            Al-Naqi was attacked within weeks of entering prison and has been put in solitary confinement for safety reasons. His lawyers appealed his sentence but, in July 2014, Kuwait’s top court upheld his sentence.


            This section will be updated as news develops on this case.