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Charter 77 Members

Charter Members

These are some core Charter members, with Vaclav Havel on the top left and Jan Patocka on the bottom left. 

These initial members of Charter 77 were the ones to both write the Charter document and attempt to collect signatures in support. They were inspired by both the Helsinki Final Act and the Plastic Peoples of the Universe trial in 1976. 

Due to their focus on human rights, they published the Charter despite their fears. Havel specifically talked about his fear that the door to his apartment would be broken down, members would be arrested, and their signatures would be confiscated. Many other people were even discouraged from signing the document, since an arrest would interrupt the good work they were already doing in support of the Charter. 

Jailed for the Charter

Havel was jailed in 1979 for his activism with the Charter. 

Havel was jailed three times between 1977 and 1989 for varying amounts of time. He and five other Charter members were jailed consistently for their efforts, although none of them stopped their protesting. 

In fact, many people found inspiration in the years where their leaders were in jail, and responded over the years with increased amounts of activism. It took time for the Charter to have this effect, but eventually people were able to act in 1988 and 1989.