PEN’s Free Expression Digest brings you a daily curated round-up of the most important free expression-related stories from around the web. Please send your feedback and suggestions to

Five journalists released from prison in Myanmar
Unity newspaper journalists Lu Maw Naing, Yarzar Oo, Paing Thet Kyaw, Sithu Soe and the newspaper’s chief executive officer Tint San had been arrested in 2014 after the newspaper published an article about an alleged secret chemical weapons factory in Magway Region. They were all charged with “disclosing State secrets, trespassing on the restricted area of the factory, taking photographs and the act of abetting” under Myanmar’s draconian Official Secrets Act. AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

Mauritanian blogger’s death sentence upheld
An appeal court in Mauritania has upheld the death sentence of a blogger convicted of apostasy, but referred his case to the Supreme Court. Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mohamed M’khaitir was arrested in January 2014 for an article criticizing those who use religion as a means of discrimination. BBC NEWS

New York City poll workers threaten journalist
When freelance photographer Christian Hansen visited polling station I.S. 71 in South Williamsburg, Brooklyn on Tuesday, he was summarily ejected, despite having written permission from the Board of Elections to take photographs. It was the third time he was kicked out of a polling site as voting took place. GOTHAMIST

Nigeria: Journalist on the run after escaping during trial
A young journalist on trial for sedition in the Gambia has escaped from the hospital where he was receiving treatment under armed guard, according to court transcripts obtained by AFP. Alagie Ceesay, a radio station manager, was arrested by the country’s secret police in July last year and has been denied bail four times despite mounting concern over his health. VANGUARD

Ugandan journalist assaulted by kingdom officials
A Bukedde Television journalist was assaulted Thursday evening by officials attached to the Obudinghiya bwa Bwamba Kingdom. Robert Kule was allegedly beaten under suspicion of spying while trying to gather information from officials regarding tension in the plundered Bubukwanga village. ALL AFRICA

Apple services shut down in China in startling about-face
Last week, Apple’s iBooks Store and iTunes Movies were shut down in China, just six months after they were started there. Initially, Apple apparently had the government’s approval to introduce the services. But then a regulator demanded the closings, according to two people who spoke on the condition of anonymity. THE NEW YORK TIMES