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 [email protected]

Washington Post cites ‘immediate danger’ to Jason Rezaian *PEN Case List
The 39-year-old journalist’s health is failing following “mistreatment”, the publication said. Rezaian, who has been imprisoned in Iran since 2014 and completes 500 days of detention on Dec. 3, was convicted in October on spying charges. There has been no clarification from Iran on how the judgement came to be, as his trial was conducted in secrecy. INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES

Judge’s libel victory shocks Croatian journalists
Croatian journalists and many members of the public have voiced dismay after the Zagreb municipal court last week fined the journalist Drazen Ciglenecki €20,000 for statements he made about a senior judge in one of his columns. They say the court ruling poses a threat to journalists’ legitimate right to freedom of expression. BALKAN INSIGHT

U.S., China reach agreement on guidelines for fighting cyber crime
The agreement on guidelines for requesting assistance on cyber crime or other malicious cyber activities was reached in talks in Washington this week among officials including U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Chinese Public Security Minister Guo Shengkun. The Justice Department said in addition to the agreement, China and the U.S. will conduct “tabletop exercises” in the spring with a number of scenarios designed to improve understanding of the expectations for response and cooperation. REUTERS

Nigeria: Senate proposes 2-year jail term for ‘frivolous’ petitioners
A bill seeking to prohibit petitions intended to report the conduct of any person of an investigation without a duly sworn affidavit passed second reading yesterday at the Nigerian Senate. The “Act To Prohibit Frivolous Petitions And Other Matters Connected Therewith,” would make such reporting punishable with “an imprisonment for a term of two years or a fine of N200,000.” NIGERIAN PILOT

British intelligence agency admits to persistent hacking
The U.K. digital spy GCHQ has admitted for the first time in court that it hacks computers, smartphones, and networks in the U.K. and abroad. GCHQ’s use of hacking has been an open secret since the Snowden revelations in 2013, but a legal case brought by Privacy International and seven ISPs has confirmed the agency’s methods. The case was initiated last year and alleges that GCHQ’s use of hacking lacks oversight and breaks both domestic and human rights laws. THE VERGE

Russia sees first real prison sentence for ‘promoting extremism’ on social media
An Internet user in the Siberian town of Surgut has been sentenced to a one-year imprisonment in a penal colony. Previously, similar charges had mostly resulted in fines or suspended sentences. The real (not suspended) year-long prison term was handed down by the municipal court after it found the individual guilty of distributing “extremist materials” on social networks. GLOBAL VOICES

Half of New York Times’ front page printed blank in Thailand
When Tuesday’s edition of the International New York Times hit newsstands in Thailand, a front-page story on the country’s economy was nowhere to be seen. In place of the article “Thai economy and spirits are sagging” was a blank white space. Page six — where the article was intended to continue — bore this message: “The article in this space was removed by our printer in Thailand. The International New York Times and its editorial staff had no role in its removal.” THE WEEK

Edward Snowden’s favorite chat app is coming to your computer
In countless interviews giving advice on how to avoid surveillance, NSA leaker Edward Snowden has repeatedly namechecked one chat app: Signal. The free and open source encryption app, which was previously known as Redphone and TextSecure on Android, is now coming to desktops, with Open Whisper Systems, the non-profit developer of the app, announcing its release on Wednesday. MOTHERBOARD