Political Prisoners and Their Stories

 What is a political prisoner? A political prisoner is
someone who is imprisoned because their beliefs or ideas are not aligned with
that of their government. Around the world, there are almost a million people
who are in jail for their beliefs and political ideology. Having a belief
system and defending one’s ideas is not a crime, however, these people are
treated as criminals and many, if not most, are subject to violations of basic
human rights. They go through abuse, and torture, and are kept in inhumane

Gratefully, there are prisoners that are eventually released
or negotiated for, that get to go home to their families. Many of them, like Mohamed Soltan, for example,
turn around and dedicated their lives to helping others that are unjustly
imprisoned. Here are more inspiring examples of political prisoners and their

Aung San Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu Kyi was born in Burma (now Myanmar). Her
father was very loved there, as he was one of the leaders of the country’s
independence. She grew up partially in India, where her mother was an
ambassador and was influenced very much by the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi.

After living in England, being married, and having two sons,
she returned to her country to help her ill mother. While she was there she
began working for democracy and peace, as the country was under military rule.

She decided to lead a revolt against the dictator General Ne
Win by speaking for democracy. She organized demonstrations and asked for
democratic reform. However, in 1989 she was restricted to house arrest and
spent nearly 15 years under such conditions.

She was accused of being dangerous to the country’s
stability. The government offered for her to be freed on the condition that she
leave Myanmar forever, and she was also offered the opportunity to go to
England to visit her husband, who was dying from cancer. However, she decided
to stay, out of fear that she wouldn’t be allowed back into the country. She
spent her time reading books her husband sent to her, playing the piano, and
occasionally receiving visitors.

She received Nobel Prize in 1991 and according to Forbes
ranked 61/100 of the most powerful women in the world in 2014.

Peter Biar Ajak: An Inspiring Survivor

Peter Biar Ajak was born in South Sudan. He attended several
universities in the US, earning several degrees. He became a strong voice
advocating for free and fair elections in his country.

In July 2018 he was sent to prison until January 2020
because of his ideas. However, his life was in danger, at risk of being
executed as a “dissident”. The US authorized emergency visas for him and his
family and they arrived safely in the country just a few months after.

Peter Biar Ajak has written hundreds of articles about South
Sudan and continues to work hard, calling for the intervention of Human Rights
and International Organizations to fight for democracy and freedom for his
people in South Sudan.

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