List of assassinated human rights activists

This is a list of murdered political dissidents and human rights activists. The list is chronological.

Intended victims Year Date Title at the time Place Country Assassin(s)
Olympe de Gouges 1793 3 November French playwright and political activist whose writings on women's rights and abolitionism brought her execution by guillotine Paris  France men
Elijah Parish Lovejoy 1837 7 November American journalist, newspaper editor and abolitionist Alton, Illinois  United States mob
Abraham Lincoln 1865 15 April President of the U.S. and anti-slavery activist Washington, D.C.  United States John Wilkes Booth
John W. Stephens 1913 22 February American state senator who assisted freed slaves Yanceyville, North Carolina  United States Ku Klux Klan
Francisco I. Madero 1913 22 February President of Mexico Mexico City  Mexico Victoriano Huerta
Song Jiaoren 1913 22 March Chinese republican leader of Kuomintang Shanghai  China Wu Shiying
Jean Jaurès 1914 31 July French Marxist anti-war activist Paris  France Raoul Villain
John Chilembwe 1915 3 February Malawian philosopher and educator Shire Highlands  Nyasaland British colonial officers
Leo Jogiches 1919 10 March German Marxist revolutionary Berlin  Germany Freikorps
Karl Liebknecht 1919 15 January German revolutionary Berlin  Germany Freikorps
Rosa Luxemburg 1919 15 January Polish-German revolutionary Berlin  Germany Freikorps
Charlemagne Péralte 1919 1 November Haitian nationalist leader Port-au-Prince  Haiti U.S. Marines
Emiliano Zapata 1919 10 April Mexican peasant leader Chinameca  Mexico Jesús Guajardo
Mustafa Suphi 1921 28 January Turkish communist leader Black Sea  Turkey Turkish agents
Michael Collins 1922 22 August Irish independence leader Béal na Bláth  Ireland Irish Civil War
Giacomo Matteotti 1924 10 June Italian anti-fascist Rome  Italy Blackshirts
Avni Rustemi 1924 22 April Albanian teacher and activist Tirana  Albania Jusuf Reçi
Takiji Kobayashi 1933 20 February Japanese author Tokyo  Japan police
Augusto César Sandino 1934 21 February Nicaraguan revolutionary Managua  Nicaragua United States Marine Corps
Antonio Guiteras 1935 8 May Cuban politician Matanzas  Cuba Cuban government
Walter W. Liggett 1935 9 December American journalist Minneapolis, Minnesota  United States Blumenfeld
Abdul Rahman Shahbandar 1940 June Syrian nationalist Damascus Flag of Syria French mandate.svg Syria National Bloc members
Leon Trotsky 1940 21 August Soviet dissident Coyoacán, Mexico City  Mexico Ramón Mercader
Marx Dormoy 1941 26 July French socialist politician Montélimar  France Comité secret d'action révolutionnaire
Carlo Tresca 1943 11 January American newspaper editor New York City  United States NKVD
Mahatma Gandhi 1948 30 January Indian independence movement leader New Delhi  India Nathuram Godse
Jorge Eliécer Gaitán 1948 9 April Mayor of Bogotá Bogotá  Colombia El Bogotazo
Julien Lahaut 1950 18 August Belgian Republican politician Seraing  Belgium François Goossens
Leonardo Ruiz Pineda 1952 21 October Venezuelan lawyer Caracas  Venezuela police
Albert Patterson 1954 18 June American attorney Phenix City, Alabama  United States Sheriff Albert Fuller
George W. Lee 1955 7 May American civil rights leader and minister Midnight, Mississippi  United States Unidentified shooter
Lamar Smith 1955 13 August American civil rights leader, farmer, and veteran Brookhaven, Mississippi  United States Unidentified shooter
Dr. Thomas Hency Brewer 1956 18 February American co-founder of a NAACP chapter Columbus, Georgia  United States Luico Flowers
Ali Boumendjel 1957 23 March Algerian militant and lawyer El Biar France French Algeria Paul Aussaresses
Maurice Audin 1957 11 June Algerian student Algiers France French Algeria André Charbonnier
Ruben Um Nyobé 1958 13 September Cameroonian anti-colonialist Boumnyébel  Cameroon French army
Salah Ben Youssef 1961 12 August Tunisian lawyer and politician Frankfurt  West Germany Tunisian agents
Herbert Lee 1961 25 September American civil rights and voting rights activist Liberty, Mississippi  United States E. H. Hurst
Mouloud Feraoun 1962 15 March Algerian journalist and translator Algiers  Algeria OAS
William Lewis Moore 1963 23 April American protesting racial segregation Attalla, Alabama  United States Unidentified/disputed shooter
Grigoris Lambrakis 1963 27 May Greek anti-war activist Thessaloniki  Greece Emannouel Emannouilides and Spyros Gotzamanis
Medgar Evers 1963 12 June American civil rights activist Jackson, Mississippi  United States Byron De La Beckwith
Louis Allen 1964 31 January American voting rights activist Amite County, Mississippi  United States Disputed
James Chaney 1964 21 June American civil rights Mississippi  United States Ku Klux Klan
Andrew Goodman 1964 21 June American civil rights activist Mississippi  United States Ku Klux Klan
Michael Schwerner 1964 21 June American civil rights activist Philadelphia, Mississippi  United States Ku Klux Klan
Humberto Delgado 1965 13 February Portuguese anti-fascist Olivenza  Spain PIDE
Malcolm X 1965 21 February American human rights activist New York City  United States members of the Nation of Islam
Pio Gama Pinto 1965 24 February Kenyan journalist Nairobi  Kenya police
James Reeb 1965 11 March American minister and civil rights activist Alabama  United States mob
Viola Liuzzo 1965 25 March American civil rights activist Selma, Alabama  United States Ku Klux Klan
Jonathan Daniels 1965 20 August American civil rights activist Hayneville, Alabama  United States Tom Coleman
Mehdi Ben Barka 1965 29 October Moroccan revolutionary fighter and politician Paris  France French intelligence agents
Sammy Younge Jr. 1966 3 January American civil rights and voting rights activist Tuskegee, Alabama  United States Marvin Segrest
Vernon Dahmer 1966 10 January American civil rights and voting rights activist Hattiesburg, Mississippi  United States Ku Klux Klan
Osende Afana 1966 15 March Cameroonian economist Ndélélé  Cameroon Cameroonian Armed Forces
Chit Phumisak 1966 5 May Thai Marxist historian Waritchaphum  Thailand local villagers
Robert W. Spike 1966 17 October American civil rights activist Columbus, Ohio  United States unknown
Wharlest Jackson 1967 27 February American NAACP chapter treasurer Natchez, Mississippi  United States unknown
Benno Ohnesorg 1967 2 June German anti-war activist West Berlin  West Germany Karl-Heinz Kurras
Che Guevara 1967 9 October Argentine revolutionary La Higuera  Bolivia CIA-assisted Bolivian forces
Martin Luther King Jr. 1968 4 April American civil rights activist Memphis, Tennessee  United States James Earl Ray
Robert F. Kennedy 1968 6 June U.S. presidential candidate Los Angeles, California  United States Sirhan Bishara Sirhan
Tom Mboya 1969 5 July Kenyan Cabinet Minister Nairobi  Kenya Nahashon Isaac Njenga Njoroge
Fred Hampton 1969 4 December American civil rights activist Chicago, Illinois  United States members of the Chicago Police Department
Krim Belkacem 1970 18 October Algerian revolutionary fighter and politician Frankfurt  West Germany unknown
Dhirendranath Datta 1971 29 March East Pakistani lawyer Moynamoti Pakistan

East Pakistan

Pakistani Army
Maximiliano Gómez 1971 23 May Dominican Republic politician  Dominican Republic orders of Joaquin Balaguer
Ghassan Kanafani 1972 8 July Palestinian writer Beirut  Lebanon Mossad
Outel Bono 1973 26 August Chadian medical doctor and politician Paris  France French secret service and Chadian Government
Amílcar Cabral 1973 20 January Guinea-Bissauan and Cape Verdean intellectual, poet, theoretician, and revolutionary Conakry  Guinea Portuguese intelligence agents
Víctor Jara 1973 16 September Chilean teacher and theater director Santiago  Chile Pedro Barrientos
Silvio Frondizi 1974 27 September Argentine intellectual and lawyer Buenos Aires  Argentina Argentine Anticommunist Alliance
Carlos Mugica 1974 11 May Argentine Roman Catholic priest and activist Villa Luro  Argentina Rodolfo Almirón
José Tohá 1974 15 March Chilean journalist Santiago  Chile military
Omar Benjelloun 1975 18 December Moroccan journalist and trade union activist Casablanca  Morocco Chabiba islamia
Herbert Chitepo 1975 18 March Rhodesian ZANU-activist Lusaka  Zambia Rhodesian Security Forces
Josiah Mwangi Kariuki 1975 2 March Kenyan socialist politician Nairobi  Kenya Kenyan police
Roque Dalton 1975 10 May Salvadoran poet, essayist, journalist, political activist, and intellectual San Salvador  El Salvador People's Revolutionary Army
Boonsanong Punyodyana 1976 28 February Thai socialist politician Bangkok  Thailand unknown
Enrique Angelelli 1976 4 August Bishop of La Rioja Sañogasta  Argentina Argentinian military
Orlando Letelier 1976 21 September Chilean economist, ex-ambassador Washington, DC  United States Dirección de Inteligencia Nacional
Bantu Stephen Biko 1977 12 September South African anti-apartheid activist Pretoria  South Africa South African Police Forces
Janani Luwum 1977 17 February Ugandan archbishop Kampala  Uganda Idi Amin regime
Rutilio Grande 1977 12 March Salvadoran priest Aguilares  El Salvador mob
Mir Akbar Khyber 1978 17 April Afghan intellectual and editor Kabul  Afghanistan Unknown, Possibly Hekmatyar's Hezbi Islami, Khalq Faction of PDPA or Babrak Karmal
Henri Curiel 1978 4 May Egyptian left-wing political activist Paris  France OAS and Charles Martel Group
Georgi Markov 1978 11 September Bulgarian dissident London  United Kingdom Bulgarian secret service
Harvey Milk 1978 27 November American LGBT human rights activist San Francisco, California  United States Dan White
George R. Moscone 1978 27 November Mayor of San Francisco San Francisco, California  United States Dan White
José Miguel Beñaran Ordeñana 1978 21 December Spanish Basque activist Anglet  France car bomb
Allard K. Lowenstein 1980 14 March American civil rights activist New York City  United States Dennis Sweeney
Óscar Romero 1980 24 March Archbishop of San Salvador San Salvador  El Salvador mob
Walter Rodney 1980 13 June Guyanese historian, political activist and scholar Georgetown  Guyana unknown
Marcelo Quiroga Santa Cruz 1980 17 July Bolivian writer, dramatist, and journalist La Paz  Bolivia Luis Garcia Meza
Enrique Álvarez Córdova 1980 27 November Salvadoran politicians San Salvador  El Salvador Brígada Anticomunista Maximiliano Hernández Martínez
John Lennon 1980 8 December British anti-war activist and ex-Beatle New York City  United States Mark David Chapman
Pierre Declercq 1981 19 September French New Caledonian politician Nouméa  New Caledonia unknown
Anwar Sadat 1981 6 October President of Egypt and peace activist Cairo, Egypt  Egypt Egyptian Islamic Jihad
Attati Mpakati 1983 24 March Malawian dissident Harare  Zimbabwe Malawian agents
Benigno Aquino Jr. 1983 21 August Filipino opposition leader Manila  Philippines Filippino agents
Alan Berg 1984 1 January American attorney and talk radio show host Denver, Colorado  United States Silent Brotherhood
Henry Liu 1984 15 October Taiwanese writer and journalist Daly City, California  United States Bamboo Union
Jerzy Popiełuszko 1984 19 October Polish Roman Catholic priest Włocławek  Poland Polish Security Service
Gérard Hoarau 1985 29 November Seychellois politicians London  United Kingdom France-Albert René regime
Shahnawaz Bhutto 1985 18 July Pakistani democracy activist Nice  France Zia ul-Haq regime
Murtaza Bhutto 1985 20 September Pakistani democracy activist Karachi  Pakistan police
Éloi Machoro 1985 12 January New Caledonian Kanak politician Canala  New Caledonia French gendarme
Fort Calata 1985 27 June South African anti-apartheid activist Port Elizabeth  South Africa South African Police Forces
Matthew Goniwe 1985 27 June South African anti-apartheid activist Port Elizabeth  South Africa South African Police Forces
Sicelo Mhlauli 1985 27 June South African anti-apartheid activist Port Elizabeth  South Africa South African Police Forces
Sparrow Mkhonto 1985 27 June South African anti-apartheid activist Port Elizabeth  South Africa South African Police Forces
Hugo Spadafora 1985 13 September Panamanian activist La Concepción  Panama Panamanian government
Olof Palme 1986 28 February Prime Minister of Sweden Stockholm  Sweden unknown
Jaime Pardo Leal 1987 11 October Colombian lawyer and union leader La Mesa  Colombia Colombian mafia
Dulcie September 1988 29 March South African anti-apartheid political activist Paris  France South African agents
Chico Mendes 1988 22 December Brazilian trade unionist and environmentalist Xapuri  Brazil Darci and Darly Alves da Silva, Jerdeir Pereira
David Webster 1989 1 May South African anthropologist Troyeville  South Africa South African Civil Cooperation Bureau
Jean-Marie Tjibaou 1989 4 May New Caledonian Kanak politician Ouvéa  New Caledonia Djubelly Wéa
Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou 1989 13 July Head of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan Vienna  Austria Iranian agents
Luis Carlos Galán 1989 18 August Colombian journalist Bogotá  Colombia Colombian mafia
Anton Lubowski 1989 12 September Namibian anti-apartheid activist Windhoek  Namibia South African Civil Cooperation Bureau
Segundo Montes 1989 16 November Salvadoran priest San Salvador  El Salvador Salvadoran army
Ignacio Ellacuría 1989 16 November Salvadoran philosopher and theologian San Salvador  El Salvador Salvadoran army
Richard de Zoysa 1990 18 February Sri Lankan journalist and actor Rajagiriya  Sri Lanka Sri Lanka-linked death squad
Farag Foda 1992 9 June Egyptian professor Heliopolis  Egypt Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya
Marsha P. Johnson 1992 4 July Gay liberation and AIDS activist New York City  United States Unknown (described by witnesses as a "group of thugs")
Tavio Amorin 1992 29 July 1992 Togolese politician Lomé  Togo police
Tahar Djaout 1993 26 May Algerian journalist and poet Algiers  Algeria Armed Islamic Group
Chris Hani 1993 10 April South African Anti-apartheid activist Boksburg  South Africa Janusz Waluś
Melchior Ndadaye 1993 21 October Burundian intellectual and politician Bujumbura  Burundi Burundi Army
Jorge Carpio Nicolle 1993 3 July Guatemalan newspaper publisher Chichicastenango  Guatemala mob
Cheb Hasni 1994 29 September Algerian musician Oran  Algeria Armed Islamic Group
Jon Simmons 1994 1 October LGBT rights activist Los Angeles  United States Unknown
Johan Heyns 1994 5 November South African Anti-apartheid activist Pretoria  South Africa White South African extremists
Iqbal Masih 1995 16 April Pakistani child activist Muridke  Pakistan Carpet Mafia
Jaswant Singh Khalra 1995 6 September Indian human rights activist Jhabal  India Kanwar Pal Singh Gill
Yitzhak Rabin 1995 4 November Prime Minister of Israel and peace activist Tel Aviv, Israel  Israel Yigal Amir
Kudirat Abiola 1996 9 June spouse of Nigerian presidential candidate Moshood Abiola Lagos  Nigeria team of six men
Abdelhak Benhamouda 1997 28 January Algerian trade unionist Algiers  Algeria unknown
Lounès Matoub 1998 25 June Algerian musician Beni Aïssi  Algeria police
Azem Hajdari 1998 12 September Albanian anti-communists Tirana  Albania Fatmir Haklaj, Jaho Mulosmani, and Naim Cangu
Sanjaasürengiyn Zorig 1998 2 October Mongolian activist Ulaanbaatar  Mongolia unknown
Galina Starovoytova 1998 20 November Russian dissidents St Petersburg  Russia Russian state security service
Norbert Zongo 1998 13 December Burkinabé publisher Sapouy  Burkina Faso Burkinabé agents
Bishop Juan José Gerardi 1998 26 April Guatemalan Roman Catholic bishop San Sebastian Church  Guatemala Guatemalan military personnels
Larisa Yudina 1998 8 June Russian journalist Elista  Russia unknown
Jaime Hurtado 1999 17 February Ecuadorian politician Quito  Ecuador Christian Steven Ponce
Jean Dominique 2000 3 April Haitian journalist Port-au-Prince  Haiti unknown
Carlos Cardoso 2000 22 November Mozambican journalist Maputo  Mozambique Nyimpine Chissano and Aníbal dos Santos
Filemon Lagman 2001 6 February Filipino workers' leader Quezon City  Philippines unknown
Phoolan Devi 2001 25 July Indian activist New Delhi  India Sher Singh Rana
Pim Fortuyn 2002 6 May Dutch politician and LGBT human rights activist Hilversum, Netherlands  Netherlands Volkert van der Graaf
Jarallah Omar 2002 28 December Yemeni politician, intellectual Sana'a  Yemen Ali Ahmad al-Jarallah
Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev 2004 13 February Chechen exiled separatist writer Doha  Qatar FSB agents
Brian Williamson 2004 5 June Jamaican LGBT+ rights activist Kingston  Jamaica Dwight Hayden
Munir Said Thalib 2004 7 September Indonesian human rights activist Schiphol  Netherlands Pollycarpus Budihari Priyanto
FannyAnn Eddy 2004 28 September LGBT rights activist Freetown  Sierra Leone Unknown
Deyda Hydara 2004 16 December Gambian newspaper reporter Banjul  Gambia Yahya Jammeh regime
Elmar Hüseynov 2005 2 March Azerbaijani journalist Baku  Azerbaijan Azerbaijani regime
Dorothy Stang 2005 15 March Brazilian-American missionary Anapu  Brazil Clodoaldo Carlos Batista and Raifran das Neves Sales
Filiberto Ojeda Ríos 2005 23 September Puerto Rican independence activist Hormigueros  Puerto Rico FBI
Anna Politkovskaya 2006 7 October Russian journalist Moscow  Russia three Chechen men
Aleksandr Litvinenko 2006 23 November Russian dissident London  United Kingdom FSB agents
Hrant Dink 2007 19 January Turkish-Armenian editor, journalist and columnist Istanbul  Turkey Ogün Samast
Gareth Williams 2007 14 February Gay rights activist Mandeville  Jamaica mob
Gabriel Mkhumane 2008 1 April Swazi opposition leader Nelspruit  South Africa Swaziland government agents
Tonderai Ndira 2008 13–22 May Zimbabwean political dissident Harare  Zimbabwe Zimbabwean agents
Natalya Estemirova 2009 15 July Russian human rights activist Ingushetia  Russia unknown
David Kato 2011 27 January Gay rights activist and teacher Mukono Town  Uganda Sidney Nsubuga Enoch
Raymond Taavel 2012 17 April LGBT rights activist Halifax  Canada Andre Noel Denny
Sakine Cansız 2013 9 January Turkish Kurdish women's rights activist Paris  France Turkish agents
Chokri Belaïd 2013 6 February Tunisian lawyer El Menzah  Tunisia Kamel Gaghgadhi
Avijit Roy 2015 26 February Bangladeshi online activist Dhaka  Bangladesh Ansarullah Bangla Team
Boris Nemtsov 2015 27 February Russian political activist Moscow  Russia two Chechen men
Diana Sacayán 2015 13 October Argentinian transgender rights activist Buenos Aires Argentina Argentina Gabriel David Marino
Berta Cáceres 2016 3 March Honduran environmental activist, indigenous leader La Esperanza  Honduras employees of DESA
Xulhaz Mannan 2016 25 April Bangladeshi LGBT rights activist Dhaka  Bangladesh Ansar-al-Islam, an Al-Qaida affiliate
Marielle Franco 2018 14 March Brazilian politician, feminist, and human rights activist Rio de Janeiro  Brazil the Brazilian Government, allegedly
Arman Loni 2019 2 February Pashtun civil rights activist Balochistan  Pakistan Pakistani Police[1]
Marc Angelucci 2020 11 July US Men's Rights Activist and Attorney California, US  US Roy Den Hollander [2]
Ayanda Ngila 2022 8 March Activist and leader of shack dwellers' movement Abahlali baseMjondolo and the eKhenana Commune Durban, South Africa  South Africa Hitmen linked to African National Congress [3][4]
Nokuthula Mabaso 2022 5 May Activist and leader of shack dwellers' movement Abahlali baseMjondolo and the eKhenana Commune Durban, South Africa  South Africa Hitmen linked to African National Congress [5][6]
Lindokuhle Mnguni 2022 20 August Activist and leader of shack dwellers' movement Abahlali baseMjondolo and the eKhenana Commune Durban, South Africa  South Africa Hitmen linked to African National Congress [7]


  1. ^ "Pakistan rights group to protest killing of activist". Aljazeera. 4 February 2019.
  2. ^ "Slaying of men's rights activist in California linked to suspected shooter of federal judge's family, FBI confirms". The Mercury News. 2 July 2020.
  3. ^ "The murder of Abahlali's Ayanda Ngila is an injury to us all". Daily Maverick. 15 March 2022.
  4. ^ "Killing of land rights defender Ayanda Ngila and targeting of Abahlali baseMjondolo".
  5. ^ "Abahlali leader describes how Nokuthula Mabaso was shot 4 times in back, then in breast and stomach". Daily Maverick. 12 May 2022.
  6. ^ "Killing of woman human rights defender Nokuthula Mabasoo".
  7. ^ "Lindokuhle Mnguni, the chairperson of the eKhenana Commune and an inspirational leader in our movement". Facebook. 20 August 2022. Lindokuhle Mnguni, the chairperson of the eKhenana Commune and an inspirational leader in our movement, has been shot dead at the Commune in Cato Manor, eThekwini. Two men opened fire several times to his home at 1:30 am this morning. Our Hearts are Heavy, we are mourning another loss of a great leader. He is the third leader of the Commune to be assassinated this year. We lost Nokuthula Mabaso on 5 May and Ayanda Ngila on 8 March.