Governance

WLC Executive Council

Masih Alinejad

Masih Alinejad

IRAN

President of the WLC

IRAN
Masih Alinejad

Masih Alinejad

President of the WLC

Lives in Exile, Living in the United States

Journalist and Human Rights Activist

Masih Alinejad, an Iranian-American journalist, TV host, advocate for women's rights, and bestselling author of "The Wind in My Hair," initially worked as a parliamentary journalist in Tehran. Known for her daring articles exposing corruption and misconduct among lawmakers, Masih faced frequent harassment and repression from the regime. In 2009, the crackdown on protests following disputed presidential elections forced her to leave her country.

In 2014, Masih initiated the groundbreaking My Stealthy Freedom/White Wednesday campaign, challenging the compulsory hijab. This was largest civil disobedience movement in the Islamic Republic's history. Masih Alinejad has earned the moniker "The woman whose hair frightens Iran," as acknowledged by The New York Times.

Despite being forced to leave her country, the Iranian regime continues to threaten her life. In July 2021, following a two-year FBI investigation, the Department of Justice charged four Iranian intelligence agents with conspiring to abduct Masih and transport her to Venezuela. Undeterred, Masih remains a voice for freedom in Iran and around the world. She is one of the co-founders of the World Liberty Congress, along with Leopoldo López and Garry Kasparov.

Garry Kasparov

Garry Kasparov

RUSSIA

Vice President of the WLC

RUSSIA
Garry Kasparov

Garry Kasparov

Vice President of the WLC

Lives in Exile, Living in the United States

Pro-Democracy Actiivist, Chairman of HRF

Garry Kasparov is an outspoken advocate for human rights and democracy in Russia. Widely considered history’s greatest chess player, Kasparov retired from the sport in 2005, to devote his time to writing and human rights activism. An ardent critic of Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin, Kasparov created the United Civil Front, a social movement with the mission of preventing Russia from returning to totalitarianism. He joined The Other Russia, a pro-democracy coalition opposing Putin, and was a candidate in the 2008 Russian presidential race.

He is a frequent contributor to major international publications including The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. Kasparov is also a 2014 Templeton Leadership Fellow of the Atlas Network. In 2015 Kasparov published “Winter Is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped” which he stated was a “push back against the rising tide of repressions coming from the Kremlin.” (Washington Post, Dec. 2015). Kasparov is critical of both U.S. and Russian policies as well as repressive leaders throughout the world. Along with Masih Alinejad and Leopoldo López, he is one of the three dissidents who helped co-found the World Liberty Congress.

Leopoldo López

Leopoldo López

VENEZUELA

General Secretary of the WLC

VENEZUELA
Leopoldo López

Leopoldo López

General Secretary of the WLC

Lives in Exile, Living in Spain

Founder of Voluntad Popular, Opposition leader

Leopoldo López is a Venezuelan opposition leader and prodemocracy activist. He founded the Venezuelan opposition party, Voluntad Popular, and served as mayor of the Chacao municipality in Caracas. In 2014, Leopoldo was arrested on trumped-up charges for leading peaceful, nationwide protests denouncing Nicolás Maduro’s regime. After a 19-month show trial, he was sentenced to nearly 14 years in prison.

He spent the first four years in solitary confinement in a military prison. He was subsequently placed under house arrest as a result of international pressure and outrage within Venezuela. Amnesty International named him a prisoner of conscience in 2015. Leopoldo escaped house arrest and was hosted at the Spanish embassy in Caracas. After a daring escape from Venezuela in October 2020, Leopoldo was reunited with his family in Spain, where he now lives in exile.

Today, he continues to be a leading voice in calling for democracy not only in Venezuela, but also across the globe. Leopoldo is a co-founder of the World Liberty Congress, which he strongly believes will be instrumental in unifying prodemocracy and human rights activists to combat the global trend toward authoritarianism.

Joey Siu

HONG KONG

Ombudswoman of the WLC

HONG KONG
Joey Siu

Joey Siu

Ombudswoman of the WLC

Lives in Exile, Living in the United States

Human Rights Advocate

Joey Siu is a Hong Kong activist based in Washington, D.C. Playing a vital role in Hong Kong’s 2019 prodemocracy movement, she organized city-wide protests and co-founded a student-led international advocacy coalition.

In exile, Siu is a dedicated advocate for the Tibetan, Uyghur, and other oppressed communities. She spearheaded a cross-movement coalition with young activists and organized successful advocacy initiatives. Siu is currently a Freedom Fellow at the Human Rights Foundation, member of the World Liberty Congress’ Executive Council, and an Advisor to the Athenai Institute.

Carine Kanimba

Carine Kanimba

RWANDA

Spokenperson of the WLC

RWANDA
Carine Kanimba

Carine Kanimba

Spokenperson of the WLC

Lives in Exile, Living in the United States

Public Speaker and Human Rights Advocate

Carine Kanimba survived Rwanda’s 1994 genocide, during which her father, Paul Rusesabagina, saved more than 1,200 people in his hotel. This story was portrayed in the film Hotel Rwanda. In 2020, her father was forcibly rendered to Rwanda and imprisoned for speaking out against the tyranny of the Rwandan president. As a global human rights advocate, Carine along with her family led the #FreeRusesabagina campaign to raise awareness of her father’s wrongful detention in Rwanda, which led to his release in 2023 after 2.5 years of unjust imprisonment.

Amnesty International and Citizen lab identified Carine as a victim of the Pegasus spyware and suspected the Rwandan Government continuously surveilled and spied on her. In July 2021, she testified in front of the U.S House Intelligence Committee and the European Parliament, as a target of the Pegasus spyware. Due to her activism and advocacy for justice and human rights, Carine was honored with the Heroes of Democracy Award from the Renew Democracy Initiative in April 2023. Carine was also the recipient of the Global Magnitsky Justice Award for young Human Rights Activists in November 2023. Carine is a graduate of Northwestern University in the US and went on to receive a Masters in Law and Economics from Aix-Marseille University in France, Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands, and the University of Bologna in Italy.

WLC Leadership Council

ASIA PACIFIC AND SOUTH ASIA

Jianli Yang

Jianli Yang

CHINA

CHINA
Jianli Yang

Jianli Yang

Lives in Exile, Living in the United States

Human Rights Activist

Dr. Jianli Yang, a world renown human rights activist and scholar, is a major architect and leader for China’s democracy. He was a Tiananmen student activist and a political prisoner of China (2002-2007). Dr. Yang helped found and lead several important organizations including Citizen Power Initiatives for China and Foundation for China in the 21st Century. He has created and organized annual Interethnic/Interfaith Leadership Conferences for 23 years and published the online publication Yibao since 2001. He co-authored a Democratic Constitution for China (1993) and co-Chaired The Geneva Internet Freedom Declaration (2010).

A recipient of multiple international awards including Harvard Alumni Achievement Award, Dr. Yang is a frequent public speaker on various world forums and contributor to various international magazines on topics ranging from human rights in China, China’s democratization, China’s politics, ethnic relations in the PRC, cross-strait relations, China’s international relations and international China policies. He has published about 1000 articles including those coauthored with activists from Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cambodia, Iran, Cuba, South Sudan, Korea, Hong Kong, East Turkestan, Republic of Congo and others.

Sophie Luo

Sophie Luo Shengchun

CHINA

CHINA
Sophie Luo Shengchun

Sophie Luo Shengchun

Lives in Exile, Living in the United States

Human Rights Activist

Sophie Luo is a full-time product line quality director of a global company, a mother of two daughters, Sophie started human rights activities in April 2013 when her husband, a human rights lawyer and activist, Ding Jiaxi, was first detained and then imprisoned for three and half years. After Ding Jiaxi served his sentence and was released from prison, He resumed his activities in China.

On December 26, 2019, Ding Jiaxi was forcibly disappeared for attending a gathering with like-minded lawyers and friends. He was severely tortured and remains held in detention. Ding Jiaxi was secretly tried and sentenced to 12 years prison.

Sophie has been speaking up tirelessly for her husband and other persecuted human rights defenders in China for the past 10 years, calling for freedom, democracy, the rule of law, social justice, and anti-authoritarianism. This May, Sophie Joined Humanitarian China as a director/trustee member, working on worldwide citizens' connection/networking/solidarity to counter human rights abuses and to end the rule of the CCP.

Wuer Kaixi

Wu´er Kaixi

CHINA

CHINA
Wu´er Kaixi

Wu´er Kaixi

Lives in Exile, Living in Taiwan

General Secretary of Taiwan Parliamentary Human Rights Commission

Wu’er Kaixi (Uerkesh Davlet in Uyghur), was born a Uyghur national in China in 1968. He was one of the founders and key organizers of the 1989 Tiananmen student movement. Listed as number 2 on the Chinese government’s list of most-wanted student leaders after the June 4 massacre, he fled the country and started his life anew in exile. Wu’er Kaixi remains a prominent Chinese dissident, assisting in founding the Federation for a Democratic China and other democratic movement organizations. He is one of the most soughtafter opinion leaders on issues regarding Chinese politics. His commentaries are published in many media outlets, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, and CNN.

Wu’er lives in Taiwan, where he remains a human rights and democracy activist, a political commentator, a documentary film producer, and a columnist. He addresses issues related to Chinese politics, the Uyghur genocide, the Hong Kong democratic movement, and Taiwan’s international role. In a hearing at the US Congress and a recent meeting with the US Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, his remark on the US-led Western democracies’ “appeasement” policy was widely reported and applauded within US policy circles. He serves as the General Secretary of the Taiwan Parliamentary Human Rights Commission, Emeritus Board Member of Reporters Without Borders, Chairman of the Taiwan Association for Democracy in China, Honorary President of the Ilham Tohti Institute, and Honorary Chairman of the Campaign For Uyghurs.

Carmen Lau

Carmen Lau

HONG KONG

HONG KONG
Carmen Lau

Carmen Lau

Lives in Exile, Living in UK

Pro-Democracy Activist, Human Rights Advocate

Carmen Lau is a Hong Kong activist who is now living in exile in the UK. During the 2019 pro-democracy movement, she was elected as a district councilor. In 2021, however, she was forced to resign by the government – and later fled Hong Kong to the UK. In December 2021, along with four other Hong Kong activists, she was wanted by the regime for “blank votes incitement” during the Legislative Council elections. A warrant was issued by the court. Currently, she works as the International Advocacy and Programme Associate of Hong Kong Democracy Council, focusing on international campaigning and advocacy for Hong Kong.

She is also a founder of ‘Hong Kong March’, a UK-wide cultural festival promoting Hong Kong culture and empowering identity; and 'Vote for Hong Kong 2024', a political campaign which encourages Hong Kongers' civil engagement and garners support for the Hong Kong cause in the UK. She also helps with the Hong Kong diaspora community and rebuilding Hongkongers’ civil society overseas in her personal capacity.

Joey Siu

HONG KONG

HONG KONG
Joey Siu

Joey Siu

Lives in Exile, Living in the United States

Human Rights Advocate

Joey Siu is a Hong Kong activist based in Washington, D.C. Playing a vital role in Hong Kong’s 2019 prodemocracy movement, she organized city-wide protests and co-founded a student-led international advocacy coalition.

In exile, Siu is a dedicated advocate for the Tibetan, Uyghur, and other oppressed communities. She spearheaded a cross-movement coalition with young activists and organized successful advocacy initiatives. Siu is currently a Freedom Fellow at the Human Rights Foundation, member of the World Liberty Congress’ Executive Council, and an Advisor to the Athenai Institute.

Chemi Lhamo

Chemi Lhamo

TIBET

TIBET
Chemo Lhamo

Carmen Lau

Lives in Exile, Living in Canada

Activist, Community Organizer

Chemi Lhamo is a Tibetan-Canadian human rights activist and a community organizer. She is a persistent advocate in the Tibetan freedom movement and has recently joined Students for a Free Tibet HQ as the Campaigns Director. Formerly, she was the Community Health Lead at Parkdale People’s Economy and the Canadian representative for the International Tibet Network Steering Committee.

Chemi’s work and activism has landed her in the Top 50 Power list of Canada 2022 and the Tibetan Youth Icon award. Despite having faced harassment, death threats and transnational repression by the Chinese government, she remains a fighter for social justice and democracy both in her local community in Canada and for her estranged homeland Tibet.

Dolkun Isa

Dolkun Isa

Uyghur

Uyghur
Dolkun Isa

Dolkun Isa

Lives in Exile, Living in Germany

Politician, activist, President of the WUC

Dolkun Isa is a former student-leader of the pro-democracy demonstrations at Xinjiang University. He founded the Students’ Science and Culture Union at the university in 1987 and worked on programs to eliminate illiteracy, to promote science, and to lead other students in East Turkestan. He was then dismissed from university but completed his physics degree via independent study, and went on to receive a Master’s degree in Politics and Sociology from Gazi University in Turkey and a degree in Computer Science in Munich, Germany. After enduring persecution from the Chinese government, Isa fled China in 1994 and sought asylum in Europe, becoming a citizen of Germany in 2006.

In November 1996, he played an important role in establishing the World Uyghur Youth Congress in Germany and served as Executive Chairman and President. In April 2004, he also played an important role in the establishment of the World Uyghur Congress through the merger of the East Turkestan National Congress and the World Uyghur Youth Congress and was elected General Secretary. He has since been presenting Uyghur human rights issues to the UN Human Rights Council, European Parliament, European governments and international human rights organizations. Dolkun Isa is the current President of the World Uyghur Congress.

For security reasons we can not reveal the identity of our 8th member

EASTERN EUROPE AND CENTRAL ASIA

Zhala Bayramova

Zhala Bayramova

AZERBAIJAN

Azerbaijan
Zhala Bayramova

Zhala Bayramova

Lives in Exile, Living in Sweden

Lawyer and Activist

Zhala Bayramova (they/them) is a human rights lawyer specialized in LGBTQIA+ rights in Azerbaijan. Mx.Bayramova is a representative of various cases at the European Court of Human Rights and works with advocacy for political prisoners. Zhala is especially focused on the case regarding their father, Dr. Gubad Ibadoghlu, a political prisoner who established the Scholarship Foundation for Stolen Asset Recovery in the UK, and investigated Azerbaijan selling Russian oil and gas to the EU to avoid sanctions.

Zhala lives in exile in Sweden, where she studies international human rights law LLM at Lund University.

Andrei Ssnnikov

Andréi Sánnikov

Belarus

Belarus
Andréi Sánnikov

Andréi Sánnikov

Lives in Exile, Living in Poland

Politician and Activist

Andréi Sánnikov is a Belarusian opposition leader and former political prisoner. In the early 1990s, he headed the Belarusian delegations on Nuclear and Conventional Weapons Disarmament Negotiations. He also served as a Belarusian diplomat to Switzerland.

From 1995 to 1996, he served as Deputy Foreign Minister of Belarus, resigning in 1996 as a form of political protest. Sánnikov was a presidential candidate in the 2010 elections, and after organizing protests against the regime, was arbitrarily detained and tortured at a KGB facility in Minsk. He was released in 2012, and remains an advocate for a free and democratic Belarus. He is the leader of the civil campaign “European Belarus.”

Bota Jardemalie

Bota Jardemalie

Kazakhstan

Azerbaijan
Bota Jardemalie

Bota Jardemalie

Lives in Exile, Political Asylum in Belgium

Lawyer and Human Rights Defender

Bota Jardemalie is a Harvard Law graduate, a licensed attorney in the State of New York and a human rights defender from Kazakhstan. For years, she defended the Kazakh opposition, political activists, human rights defenders, victims of torture, advocates for human rights, democracy, and the fight against corruption. She advocates on various issues, including Interpol reform, personal sanctions regimes, the misuse of mutual legal cooperation (especially in politically motivated cases), cryptocurrency legislation, and problems related to the abuse of AML/CFT legislations.

Bota Jardemalie was granted political asylum in Belgium. The Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) recognizes Jardemalie as a “lawyer in danger.” Bota has been recognized as a victim of transnational repression. The Belgian federal police probed a criminal conspiracy targeting her, involving former STASI agents and a Russian national with the intent to kidnap. Convictions in Belgium followed.

In 2017, Kazakhstan’s regime arrested Jardemalie's brother in Kazakhstan. His arrest served as both retaliation against Jardemalie and a means to pressure her to go back to Kazakhstan. International institutions and organizations had recognized Yerimbetov's case as politically motivated. After two years of international pressure, he was eventually released.

Ivan Tyutrin

Andréi Sánnikov

RUSSIA

Russia
Ivan Tyutrin

Ivan Tyutrin

Lives in Exile, Living in Lithuania

Co-founder of the Free Russia Forum, Member of Russian Action Committee

Ivan Tyutrin was born in Tomsk in 1981. Since the founding of the United Civil Front (founded by Garry Kasparov) in June 2005, has headed the Tomsk regional branch of the UCF and served as a member of the Bureau of the UCF Federal Council. In May 2008, he became a member of the National Assembly of the Russian Federation and its Council. Due to his long standing public stance against the Putin regime, he was forced to leave the country in 2012.

In March 2016, together with Garry Kasparov, co-founded the Free Russia Forum in Vilnius, the largest platform of the Russian opposition. The FRF advocates a decisive victory of Ukraine over the aggressor and the liberation of all captured Ukrainian territories. Since 2016, 11 Free Russia Forums have been held, and since the beginning of Russia's full-scale military invasion of Ukraine, five Anti-War Conferences have been held under the auspices of the FRF. In 2023, the Russian Prosecutor General's Office recognized the Free Russia Forum as an "undesirable organization."

In 2022, Tyutrin became a member of the Russian Action Committee, a movement of representatives of Russian society who oppose the Putin dictatorship and the war it unleashed on Ukraine. On December 16, 2022, the Russian Ministry of Justice added Ivan Tyutrin to the list of individuals categorized as “foreign agents.” In 2023, Tyutrin was elected to the Council of the Free Russia Forum, as well as to the Council of the World Liberty Congress – the largest platform of dissidents in the world.

Muhamadjon Kabirov

Muhamadjon Kabirov

Tajikistan

Tajikistan
Muhamadjon Kabirov

Muhamadjon Kabirov

Lives in Exile, Living in Poland

Journalist and Human Rights Defender

Muhamadjon Kabirov is currently serving as the editor-in-chief of Azda.TV, a Tajik-language news network based in Poland. His work is dedicated to promoting freedom of expression and democratic values. Kabirov is also the president of the board of directors of the Foundation for Intercultural Integration, an organization that assists refugees with resettlement in Poland.

In 2014, Kabirov founded the NGO Eurasian Dialogue in Lithuania and launched the independent news channel Central Asian TV. He has been a tireless advocate for refugees, immigrants, and political prisoners in Tajikistan, Russia, and the European Union. Kabirov has collaborated extensively with international organizations such as the UN Human Rights Committee, the European Parliament, and the OSCE to advance the rights of Tajik political prisoners.During his fellowship, Kabirov is conducting research on exiled media outlets based in the United States and beyond. His goal is to strengthen the efficacy and impact of exiled Tajik media. Additionally, he is exploring independent alternatives to the state-controlled media that currently dominates Tajikistan’s media landscape.

LATIN AMERICA

Jhanisse Vaca-Daza

Bolivia

Bolivia
Jhanisse Vaca-Daza

Jhanisse Vaca-Daza

Lives in Exile, Living in the United States

Activist Outreach Specialist in HRF

Jhanisse Vaca Daza is co-founder of Ríos de Pie, a nonviolent citizens movement focused on human and environmental rights in Bolivia. Ríos de Pie (Standing Rivers) plays a key role driving humanitarian efforts against the Amazon fires in Bolivia since 2019 to date, and continues to educate Bolivians in nonviolence resistance to protest the government.

She is also Senior Programs Officer at the Human Rights Foundation and member of the Leadership Council of the World Liberty Congress. Her work focuses on nonviolence as a technique of mass mobilization for social & environmental change. Jhanisse obtained her honors bachelor’s degree in International Relations at Kent State University. She completed the Nonviolent Movement Leadership for Social Progress and Leadership in Crisis executive programs at Harvard Kennedy School. She received recognitions such as the 2023 Sákharov Fellowship from the European Parliament, and Peace Ambassador by One Young World and the European Commission in 2021.

Félix Maradiaga

Félix Maradiaga

Nicaragua

Tajikistan
Félix Maradiaga

Félix Maradiaga

Lives in Exile, Living in the United States

Human Rights Activist, Opposition Leader

Félix Maradiaga is a prominent figure in Central America known for his expertise in nonviolent resistance and democracy building. He is widely recognized as one of the leading voices within the Nicaraguan democratic opposition against the dictatorship of Daniel Ortega.

In 2018, during widespread protests against the Sandinista regime, he faced a barrage of criminal charges, smear campaigns, and survived two assassination attempts. In 2019, he experienced multiple periods of house arrest. The situation escalated in July 2021 when Félix was arbitrarily arrested after announcing his intentions to run for president. He was detained in a maximum-security prison, enduring exceptionally harsh and inhumane conditions for 21 months. Eventually, he was sentenced to 13 years in prison.

However, in February 2023, thanks to a global advocacy campaign, he and 221 other political prisoners were expelled to the United States following the revocation of their Nicaraguan nationality and confiscation of their assets by the regime. Félix Maradiaga now serves as the president of the “Foundation for the Freedom of Nicaragua.” He continues his tireless advocacy for releasing political prisoners in Nicaragua and restoring democracy in the country. He has also launched the international campaign EndArbitraryDetention.org to shed light on the plight of political detainees worldwide.

Jonathan Duarte

Jonathan Duarte

Nicaragua

Bolivia
Jonathan Duarte

Jonathan Duarte

Lives in Exile, Living in Costa Rica

Political Consultant and Strategist

Jonathan Duarte is a Nicaraguan-American Political Consultant and Electoral Campaign Strategist, with a strong commitment to pro-democracy advocacy.

Splitting his time between San Jose, Costa Rica, and Miami, FL, Jonathan has successfully managed and provided strategic counsel for numerous electoral campaigns and political leaders both in Nicaragua and the United States. His passion for community development and empowerment led him to serve as a Community Grant Advisor for The Miami Foundation, fortifying local initiatives on thriving youth and families in Miami-Dade County.

Concurrently, as the Director of Operations at Fundación Para La Libertad de Nicaragua (Fundación Libertad), Jonathan passionately champions the noble cause of liberty and democracy in his homeland.

For security reasons we can not reveal the identity of our 4th member

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Roya Mahboob

Roya Mahboob

Afghanistan

Afghanistan
Roya Mahboob

Roya Mahboob

Lives in Exile, Living in the United States

Bussinesswoman, Philanthropist, Entrepreneur

Roya Mahboob is an Afghan businesswoman, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. She is the founder and CEO of the Afghan Civil Software Company, a software development company in Afghanistan. She is among the first female IT CEOs in the country. Her company was founded with the goal of creating jobs for recent University graduates, with a special focus for women. ACSC is a groundbreaking enterprise in Afghanistan, which has pioneered the tech industry in the country, including one project which helped hospitals shift from paper to digital records.

Mahboob was named to TIME magazine’s top 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2013 for her work in bringing the internet to highschool classrooms. She also founded Women’s annex, a blog used as a platform for women and girls in Afghanistan and Central Asia to tell their stories to the world. She met with Secretary of State John Kerry at the American University of Afghanistan to discuss the role of women entrepreneurs in Afghanistan. She also created nine IT centers for girls in highschools across Afghanistan.

Sardar Pashaei

Iran

Iran
Sardar Pashaei

Sardar Pashaei

Lives in Exile, Living in the United States

Activist and Former Professional Wrestler

Sardar Pashaei, a prominent figure in the fight for human rights within the realm of international sports, serves as the President of Iranian Athletes for Justice and the Executive Manager of United for Navid. This campaign aims to exclude the Iranian regime from global sporting events due to its human rights violations. Sardar is also the Chief of Staff to Masih Alinejad, a notable Iranian dissident and author. Born into a politically active Kurdish family in Saghez, Sardar’s journey led him to the United States in 2010. He now resides in the Washington D.C. area, continuing his advocacy for a free Iran.

Due to his opposition to the regime, Sardar has suffered personal consequences, including the confiscation of his passport and forced exile from Iran. In response, Sardar dedicated himself to uniting exiled Iranian athletes and spearheaded campaigns against the regime, successfully challenging their participation in international sporting events. Sardar’s activism extends to the international media, where he is a vocal critic of the Islamic regime. His appearances on BBC World, CNN International, Fox News, and Voice of America, along with contributions to major newspapers, focus on advocating for human rights in sports, challenging gender discrimination, and demanding the release of political prisoners. His efforts are not only a testament to his personal resilience but also an inspiration for global advocacy against oppression in sports and beyond.

Faisal Almutar

Faisal Al-Mutar

Iraq

Iraq
Faisal Al-Mutar

Faisal Al-Mutar

Lives in Exile, Living in the United States

Founder of Global Conversations and Ideas

Beyond Borders

Faisal Al-Mutar was born in Babylon and raised in Baghdad. He experienced the villainy of extremism and authoritarian regimes firsthand. He survived the Iraq Civil War, the murder of family members, and several kidnapping attempts before becoming a citizen of the United States in 2019. He is a practitioner of countering extremism and misinformation on an international scale, working first with his siblings in Iraq during the surge in 2007 to this current moment.

Faisal has traveled to conferences and spoken on campuses across the globe about his experiences working to create alternative narratives in the region. He founded Ideas Beyond Borders, a non-profit dedicated to empowering people across the Middle East with access to new ideas and fresh perspectives with branches in The Kurdistan region in Iraq and Dubai. Faisal received the “President’s Volunteer Service Award” from President Barack Obama and is part of the leadership network of the American Enterprise Institute.

Murad Ismael

Murad Ismael

Iraq

Iraq
Murad Ismael

Murad Ismael

Lives in Exile, Living in the United States

Co-Founder, Sinjar Academy

Murad Ismael is the Co-founder and President of Sinjar Academy and a former Executive Director of Yazda. Murad is a Yazidi from Sinjar, he finished his school in Iraqi Kurdistan and holds two masters in Environmental engineering and Geophysics from the Norwich University and University of Houston, respectively. Murad was part of a group of Yazidi delegation which held high-level meetings with representatives at the White House when ISIS carried out a genocidal attack against the Yazidi minority in 2014 and cofounded Sinjar Crisis Management Team. This resulted in the US intervention to authorize airstrikes targeted at ISIS locations and humanitarian airdrops to the thousands of Yazidis that were trapped on Mount Sinjar. Murad has been traveling around the world to create awareness of the Yazidi cause. Murad managed Nobel Laureate Nadia Murad’s campaign for two years, which laid the foundation for her receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.

Ammar Abdulahamid

Ammar Abdulhamid

Syria

Syria
Ammar Abdulhamid

Ammar Abdulhamid

Lives in Exile, Living in the United States

Author, Human Rights Activist

Ammar Abdulhamid is a Syrian-America author and pro-democracy activist. His criticism of the Syrian regime and call for civil disobedience led to his exile from the country in 2005. He settled in Washington, D.C. where he established the Tharwa Foundation, an organization dedicated to empowering pro-democracy and human rights activists in Southwest Asia and North Africa. In 2004, the New York Times recognized Ammar as “one of the important voices articulating the rising generation’s disenchantment” with the current Syrian Regime. In 2005, Newsweek magazine named him as one of 43 most influential personalities in the contemporary Arab World. In 2008, USAID recognized Ammar alongside eight activists from North Korea, Sudan, Burma, Belarus and Iran in a ceremony presided over by President George W. Bush dedicated to celebrating the Freedom Agenda.

In 2011, Ammar became one of the main interlocutors on behalf of the nonviolence protesters in Syria and was one of the main organizers of the first opposition coalition in Antalya, Turkey. For many years, acting through the Tharwa Foundation, Ammar carried out training workshops for civil society activists in Syria and arranged meetings for Syrian opposition figures with advisers and policymakers in the United States and Europe. Ammar currently works as an independent analyst and researcher and is dedicating much of his time to helping develop the organizational structure of the World Liberty Congress.

Medeni Sungur

Turkey

Turkey
Medeni Sungur

Medeni Sungur

Not in Exile, Living in Turkey

Human Rights Activist and Civil Society Director

Medeni Sungur has been part of Turkish civil society and international human rights circles for over 15 years. He cofounded 3H, Turkey's first liberal youth movement, and the Freedom Research Association, the country's first liberal think tank. He is currently building DIGIMAR Institute and Kuest Media, Turkey’s first explanatory journalism platform with a focus on bringing the most important social and democratic issues to the rising generation.

Deeply interested in the relationship between technology and democracy, Medeni explored the technology transfer between authoritarian regimes during his master's. This research led him to organize Europe's first conference examining the effects of mass surveillance technology on democracy and human rights.

Medeni is a member of various international organizations like the Atlas Network, the World Movement for Democracy and the International Forum on Information and Democracy. He's also trained as a digital sherlock by the Atlantic Council, making him well-rounded in both the digital, public advocacy and community-building aspects of his work.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Maximilienne Ngo Mbe

Cameroon

Cameroon
Maximilienne Ngo Mbe

Maximilienne Ngo Mbe

Human Rights Campaigner

Maximilienne Ngo Mbe is a Cameroonian Human Rights Campaigner and activist. She leads the Réseau des Défenseurs des Droits Humains en Afrique Centrale (REDHAC), an NGO focused on protecting the rights of human rights defenders in Central Africa. REDHAC covers eight countries in the region: Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Chad, Gabon, Central African Republic, the Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and São Tomé and Principe. Ngo Mbe has also worked as an election observer and consultant for the African Union.

Due to her activism, she has faced constant harassment and threats to her safety. REDHAC offices have repeatedly been attacked and broken into. She moved her children to France in 2013 to protect them, but remained in Cameroon to continue the fight. She has been vocal in her criticism of government abuses, including the Ngarbuh massacre in 2020, where 22 civilians were massacred by government troops. In 2021, she was one of fourteen women to win the International Women of Courage Award.

Ndolembai Njesada

Dr. Ndolembai S. Njesada

Chad

Chad
Dr. Ndolembai S. Njesada

Dr. Ndolembai S. Njesada

Not in Exile, Living in Chad

Opposition Leader

Dr. Njesada is a co-founder of the most prominent opposition party in Chad called “Les Transformateurs.” He has been serving since its creation as the Vice President in charge of political affairs, bilateral relationships, and the diaspora. As the founding member of this movement in 2018, he has been playing a key role in advancing the agenda of the party within the Chadian diaspora and in multiple African countries and other western country partners to Chad.

He was forced to leave his country in October 2022 after a peaceful protest led to the killing of over 300 civilians and the arrest of over 2,000 by the junta. Since last year, Dr. Njesada and his party are working tirelessly to return to Chad to continue to play their role of bringing justice and equality for all. Dr. Njesada is a consultant in public health and a political advisor to various NGOs and companies in multiple countries.

Dr. Ndolembai S. Njesada received two Bachelor of Science degrees: Biology and Computer Science at Dallas Baptist University (DBU), a master’s in public health with a concentration in Environmental and Occupational Health Science and a PhD degree in the same field from the University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC).
Saredo Ishak

Saredo Ishak Omar

Djibouti

Djibouti
Saredo Ishak Omar

Saredo Ishak Omar

Not in Exile, Living in Djibouti

Human Rights Activist

Saredo Ishak Omar alias Shak Dore is a Djiboutian human rights activist. Targeted because of her anti-corruption work, she lost her job and career and has faced harassment and intimidation by regime forces. Despite this, she remains in her country to help mobilize people against the corrupt autocracy which governs Djibouti.

Carbone Beni

Carbone Beni

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Democratic Republic of the Congo
Carbone Beni

Carbone Beni

Freedom Fighter, Pro-democracy and Pan-African Activist.

Carbone Beni is a pro-democracy activist and human rights defender in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In 2015, he cofounded one of the major citizen movements in the DRC called “Filimbi” which in French means “Whistleblower.”

Filimbi is a civil society initiative which campaigned between 2015 and 2018 against the forceful retention of power by the President, and against human rights violations by demanding that the government respects the Congolese constitution. Because of this fight, Carbone Beni suffered all kinds of repression ranging from torture, kidnappings, and intimidation. He was convicted and spent one year in prison with his comrades in Kinshasa.

Being a youth leader in his country, he created an NGO called ICONIA INSTITUTE which deals with questions of political participation of young people, from training to ethical and democratic governance, through leadership and freedoms. In addition, Carbone Beni is a political scientist and teaches political science as an assistant at the university. He is also a social entrepreneur.

Sicelo Mngomezulu

Sicelo Mngomezulu

Eswatini

Eswatini
Sicelo Mngomezulu

Sicelo Mngomezulu

Lives in Exile, Living in South Africa

Human Rights Lawyer and Activist, Philanthropist

Sicelo Mngomezulu is a prominent activist, attorney and philanthropist, and successful businessman based in Johannesburg, South Africa. As the founder of CHSM Incorporated Attorneys, a well-respected legal firm, he has made a significant impact in advocating for the rights and freedoms of individuals unjustly detained due to their political beliefs and activities.

Mr. Mngomezulu's noteworthy achievements include serving as the legal representative for two incarcerated members of Parliament in Eswatini, Mr. Mthandeni Dube and Mr. Bacede Mabuza, who faced charges of terrorism, sedition, and murder. His experiences in Eswatini inspired him to establish Lawyers for Democratic Reforms in Swaziland (LAW-DERSWA), a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting democratic principles, upholding the rule of law, and safeguarding human rights.

As the Chairperson of the Swaziland Multi-Stakeholder Forum (MSF), Sicelo leads a coalition of non-state actors working towards prodemocracy and human rights objectives in Eswatini. Under his leadership, the MSF seeks peaceful negotiated settlements and demonstrates dedication to inclusive solutions, aligning with organizations like the World Liberty Congress. Sicelo’s collaborative and inclusive approach is pivotal in advancing the cause of democracy and human rights in the region.

Foniké Menguè

Foniké Menguè

Guinea

Guinea
Foniké Menguè

Foniké Menguè

Journalist

Foniké Menguè joined the social movement in Guinea and internationally in 2014. He participated in the creation of various youth projects that aim to promote democracy, good governance and pan-Africanism in Guinea. This includes movements like social forces of Guinea, the Foniké Club, the Voice of the People (VDP), the Movement for a Young President in 2020 (MJP2020), and the FNDC (National Front for the Defense of the Constitution). In June 2023, Foniké Menguè published his very first work, which he wrote while he was in detention entitled: Debout Pour La Patrie. Over 850 copies of the book have been seized by the military authorities since May 2023.

As a civics radio show host, he hosted programs on civic education, citizenship and good governance. However, he was subject to several arbitrary arrests and detentions for his activism. He was kidnapped 4 times, including two consecutive imprisonments which lasted approximately 16 months by the Alpha Condé regime. He was then twice arrested and imprisoned by the military regime led by Mamadi Doumbouya, which lasted approximately 10 months. These kidnappings and arbitrary detentions prompted the international community to demand his release. Foniké Menguè remains an active and passionate voice for human rights, democracy, and the rule of law in Guinea.

Carine Kanimba

Carine Kanimba

RWANDA

RWANDA
Carine Kanimba

Carine Kanimba

Spokenperson of the WLC

Lives in Exile, Living in the United States

Public Speaker and Human Rights Advocate

Carine Kanimba survived Rwanda’s 1994 genocide, during which her father, Paul Rusesabagina, saved more than 1,200 people in his hotel. This story was portrayed in the film Hotel Rwanda. In 2020, her father was forcibly rendered to Rwanda and imprisoned for speaking out against the tyranny of the Rwandan president. As a global human rights advocate, Carine along with her family led the #FreeRusesabagina campaign to raise awareness of her father’s wrongful detention in Rwanda, which led to his release in 2023 after 2.5 years of unjust imprisonment.

Amnesty International and Citizen lab identified Carine as a victim of the Pegasus spyware and suspected the Rwandan Government continuously surveilled and spied on her. In July 2021, she testified in front of the U.S House Intelligence Committee and the European Parliament, as a target of the Pegasus spyware. Due to her activism and advocacy for justice and human rights, Carine was honored with the Heroes of Democracy Award from the Renew Democracy Initiative in April 2023. Carine was also the recipient of the Global Magnitsky Justice Award for young Human Rights Activists in November 2023. Carine is a graduate of Northwestern University in the US and went on to receive a Masters in Law and Economics from Aix-Marseille University in France, Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands, and the University of Bologna in Italy.

Diing Deng Mou

Diing Deng Mou

South Sudan

South Sudan
Diing Deng Mou

Diing Deng Mou

Lives in Exile, Living in Kenya

Pro-Democracy and Human Rights Activist

Diing Deng Mou is a South Sudanese human rights activist, former political prisoner, former child soldier, and co-founder and chairman of a political movement. Diing participated in the war of liberation as a child soldier. He was forcefully recruited into the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) at age 12. This made him develop a moral zeal and sense of justice at a very young age.

He served in South Sudan's national army, the South Sudan People's Defense Forces (SSPDF). He also served in the national security service as a protection officer. Finally, he served as Secretary General for the opposition parties' alliance, the South Sudan Democratic Alliance (SSDA).

Gladys Hlatywayo

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe
Gladys Hlatywayo

Gladys Hlatywayo

Secretary for International Relations for Citizens

Coalition for Change

Gladys Kudzaishe Hlatywayo is a Member of Parliament in Zimbabwe and the current Secretary for International Relations for Zimbabwe’s main opposition party- Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), which is led by Nelson Chamisa. She has been active in the human rights and democracy movement for the last 20 years. She began her activism as a student leader and later served in various capacities in Zimbabwe’s civic movement before she joined politics full time.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from University of Zimbabwe, MSc in Development Studies from the National University of Science and Technology (Zimbabwe), MSc in Public Management and Governance from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship in Public Policy Analysis from the University of Minnesota.

WLC Regional Secretary Bios

EASTERN EUROPE AND CENTRAL ASIA

Natalia Pelevina

Russia

Russia
Natalia Pelevina

Natalia Pelevina

Lives in Exile, Living in Latvia

Oppossition Leader

Natalia Pelevina is an oppositional politician, antiPutin, antiWar, and is prosecuted in Russia - resulting in two politically motivated criminal cases against her and a number of horrible life changing smear campaigns. Days after the invasion of Ukraine she marched outside the Kremlin with the Ukrainian flag, was arrested, and later managed to flee Russia. Pelevina has been part of the resistance to Putin since 2008, where she has organized street protests, lobbied for the "Magnitsky act" aimed at sanctions for those who violate human rights in Russia (the Act was passed in US and Europe).

She became a member of a political council of oppositional party "PARNAS", one of the co-founders of which was Boris Nemzov, killed near Kremlin in 2015. Pelevina investigated cases including the Moscow Theater Siege in 2002, where FSB agents gassed citizens, and wrote a play about it, which was banned in Russia. Pelevina ran for elections, and started "campaigns of the truth" only to be blocked from participating. She was prosecuted heavily, almost ended up in jail, and was filmed with secret cameras that were planted inside her home. She is now fighting by organizing, going on Ukrainian channels, telling the truth to the Russian people and seeking any means to stop Putin.

LATIN AMERICA

For security reasons we can not reveal the identity of our Latin America member

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Nilofar Ayoubi

Nilofar Ayoubi

Afghanistan

Afghanistan
Nilofar Ayoubi

Nilofar Ayoubi

Lives in Exile, Living in Poland

Journalist and Business Owner

Nilofar Ayoubi is an Afghan activist, journalist, and entrepreneur who escaped Afghanistan with her family shortly after the Taliban takeover in August 2021. She lives in Poland with her husband and three children. She was a speaker on the importance of investing in the protection and participation of women human rights defenders in conflict and crisis at an event hosted by the United Nations and International Non-Government Organizations in December, 2022.

She is CEO of Asia Times Afghanistan and Editor of Akhbar Afghan. She founded a group called the Women’s Political Participation Network. In Afghanistan she owned several businesses, including beauty products, designer clothing and bridal wear, a design and decoration company with furniture manufacturing. She created 300 jobs for women across Afghanistan with a hand-made carpet company.

William Amanzuru

Uganda

Uganda
William Amanzuru

William Amanzuru

Not in Exile, Living in Uganda

Environmental and Human Rights Defender

William Leslie Amanzuru is the founder of Friends of ZOKA, an organization campaigning for an end to illegal logging in Zoka Central Forest Reserve. Since learning more about the reality and effects of climate change, Mr. Amanzuru has made it his mission to combat illegal logging in Zoka Central Forest Reserve and other forests like Kei and Mountain Otce.

In the process, he has exposed the connections between illegal activities in his local area and systems of corruption that feed into the illicit global lumber trade. Because of his work to expose the powerful individuals behind these illicit activities, Mr. Amanzuru has faced threats, surveillance and intimidation.

His family have also been targeted as a consequence of his activism. Since 2018, Mr. Amanzuru has not lived with his family, who lives over 300 miles away for their safety and security. He was named as the winner of the EU Human Rights Defenders’ Award 2019.

We are building the Congress as a legitimate and democratic institution with shared principles and mission, representation of all countries under autocratic regimes and clear governance structure.
The Congress will meet every year for the annual General Assembly with the intention to become an alternative voice to autocratic regimes.