Anwar Ibrahim in 2009.
Arnold Tsunga: Despite constant harassment from the police, which has included multiple kidnappings and beatings, Tsunga has made a career fighting against the regime of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. A highly respected lawyer and human rights advocate, Tsunga formerly served as the executive director of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, an NGO that seeks to ensure free and fair elections, freedom of speech, and the protection of constitutionally enshrined rights in Zimbabwe. He serves as a trustee for Voice of the People, a broadcasting trust that seeks to expose government corruption and illegal activity, and also heads the International Commission of Jurists' Africa program.
Gopalan Nair: Nair, a former opposition politician, is known throughout Singapore's embattled blogosphere for his fierce promotion of human rights and blunt criticism of founding leader and current "minister mentor" Lee Kuan Yew. In September 2008, Nair was sentenced to three months in jail for defaming a judge in a blog entry. On March 6, he published a hoax post on his blog indicating that Lee had suffered a heart attack and had been brought to Singapore General Hospital. Nair's motive? It was, he says, "a deliberate attempt to highlight how tenuous Singapore really is, with all power in the island vested in one man, and the dire consequences to the island of his parting. And especially so as [Lee] is 87." Nair lives in California and has been a U.S. citizen since 2004.
Anwar Ibrahim: Anwar is one of the country's most famous and controversial politicians. Once a protégé of former Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad, the two had a falling out in the late 1990s, and Anwar emerged as leader of the Malaysian opposition. In this capacity, he has continuously pressed the Malaysian government to become more democratic and combat corruption. Throughout the past decade, Anwar has pushed for improvements in governance-related issues, especially the need for a more independent judiciary. In 1998 and again in 2008, Anwar was arrested and charged with what are widely seen as bogus sodomy crimes invented by the government to silence him.
(Check out FP's 2008 interview with Anwar.)
Zainah Anwar: Zainah has gained fame in Malaysia for her leadership of NGOs focused on promoting women's rights. The daughter of Anwar bin Abdul Malik, a well-known Malaysian politician, she rose to prominence in 1990s when she assumed the leadership of Sisters in Islam, a Malaysian organization of Muslim women that promotes women's rights under sharia. Although she has since relinquished that role, she continues to work to expand women's rights in Islamic society by speaking out around the world.
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