Release of Gregorian Bivolaru

13 September 2017: Gregorian Bivolaru released from prison in Romania

Gregorian Bivolaru, a yoga teacher imprisoned in Romania and a political refugee in Sweden, was released today before the end of his prison sentence. He had been arrested in France last year and imprisoned on fabricated charges.

HRWF had carried out a fact-finding mission about his yoga movement (MISA) in Romania, published a report and campaigned for his release.




Release of Sevada Aghasar

21 July 2019: Sevada Aghasar, an ethnic Armenian, has been conditionally released from prison (IRAN)   


Following an unsuccessful appeal, Sevada Aghasar was summoned to serve a five-year prison sentence in 2017, more than two years after he had originally been sentenced.


Aghasar had been arrested with two Christian converts, Masoud Mirzaei and Ebrahim Firouzi in August 2013. Mirzaei was later released, but Aghasar and Firouzi were charged in March 2015 with “action against national security through collusion and gathering” and, in April 2015, they were each sentenced to five years in prison.


Aghasar was permitted early release from Evin Prison on 21 July 2019 after serving half of the prison sentence, but with provisions (mostly restricting evangelical activity).


HRWF had largely publicized their case and mentioned them on our list of religious prisoners on our website: See prisoners’ database now.



Baha’i Seven released

20 December 2018: All of the Baha’i Seven have been released (IRAN)

Seven Baha’i leaders were arrested in 2008 and accused of espionage, “propaganda against the regime” and other alleged crimes. They were sentenced to 20 years each, which was reduced to 10 in 2013. As of 20 December 2018, all seven were released.

HRWF had been closely following this case and campaigning for their release, which you can read here.




Release of Petr Jašek

 27 February 2017: Petr Jašek released from prison (SUDAN)

Czech Christian aid worker, Petr Jašek, has been released from prison in Sudan after being pardoned and freed by President Omar Bashir. The release apparently comes after the Czech Foreign Minister, Lubomir Zaoralek, visited Sudan this past weekend.

Jašek, 52, was originally detained in December 2015 and, in January 2017, was sentenced to 23 ½ years in prison for various charges including: waging war against the state, violating restrictions in military areas, spreading rumors to defame the state, and inciting strife between communities.

HRWF had largely publicized his case and conducted a campaign for his release.

See our campaign’s page for his release.




Release of eight Christians

6 December 2016: Eight Christians acquitted and released (NEPAL)

Eight Christians in Charikot, Nepal, who were accused of attempting to convert children to Christianity through the distribution of a comic book, were acquitted on 6 December 2016.

Prakash Pradhan, Bimal Shahi, Banita Dangol, Balkrishna Rai, Philip Tamang, Kiran Dahal, Bhimsen Tiwari and Shakti Pakhrin had been arrested in June 2016.

HRWF had largely publicized their case and mentioned them on our list of religious prisoners on our website: See prisoner’s list for Nepal