Akbar Ganji Liu Xiaobo Mohandas Gandhi
The brave Iranian journalist has voiced his dissent against the Iranian government, gaining recognition for his work on “the chain of murders of Iran”, which accused a set of senior officials of the killings. This landed him six years in jail. During his imprisonment, he wrote several important essays, most notably a political manifesto, which outlines hopes for democracy in Iran. He has also been fiercely critical of the war and US occupation in Iraq, saying: “You cannot bring democracy to a country by attacking it.” He strongly supported the election protests in Iran in 2009, and carried out a hunger strike outside of the United Nations headquarters to draw attention to the plight of Iranian political prisoners, and the conditions of oppression in the country. The renowned political prisoner was a bastion for human rights in China. He was sentenced to 11 years in prison for criticising the communist government through a petition called “Charter 08” which called for drastic political reforms and the end of one-party rule. His protests against the government date back to the days building up to Tiananmen Square in 1989, where he was a student adviser, and joined the protest leaders in a weeklong hunger strike. His writing, teaching and human rights activities earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 – the first Chinese citizen to be accorded the honour. Earlier this year, he was released on medical parole after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer; he remained under surveillance. He passed away on July 13, 2017. He is more commonly known by his name Mahatma, which means, “the great-souled one”. He served many prison terms, beginning with his campaigning against the racial discrimination in South Africa – where he worked for a period in the early 1900s. He rebelled against the laws that required all Indians in the country to be fingerprinted. When back in India, he was sent to jail for campaigning against British rule. After being charged for contempt of the British government in India, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a six-year prison term, of which he served two years. In August 1947, India achieved independence. After Partition, he continued to promote peace between Hindus and Muslims. He was assassinated six months later in New Delhi.
“Negotiation talks are the best way to solve anything. We must replace wars and weapons with negotiations and talks” “I hope that I will be the last victim in China's long record of treating words as crimes" “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win"