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

Two sentenced to death for Bangladesh blogger murder
A Bangladesh court has sentenced two students to death for the murder of a secular blogger, delivering the first convictions after a series of such killings. Ahmed Rajib Haider, 35, was hacked to death by machete-wielding attackers in February 2013, in the first of a string of killings targeting secular writers. THE GUARDIAN

Iranian activist’s health worsens as she awaits appeal hearing
A prolonged delay in hearing children’s rights activist Atena Daemi’s appeal against her 14-year prison sentence is causing a serious deterioration in her health, particularly as she has not been able to leave prison for the past eight months to receive specialized medical treatment. Daemi’s mother, Massoumeh Nemati, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that prison conditions were causing her daughter to have severe headaches and weakening vision. INT’L CAMPAIGN FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN IRAN

China frees 2 brothers of U.S. reporter for Radio Free Asia
Two brothers of an American journalist who U.S. lawmakers say were jailed by China in retaliation for his reporting on ethnic tensions in the country’s Xinjiang region have been freed, the reporter’s employer said. Another brother remained in custody. THE NEW YORK TIMES

Facebook ‘Free Basics’ service suspended in Egypt
A Facebook scheme to provide free Internet access to people in developing nations has been suspended in Egypt. The company’s Free Basics service lets people in some countries access Facebook and some other websites without charge. But critics of the service say it undermines the principle of net neutrality – the idea that all Internet traffic should be treated equally – and that Internet providers should not be offering cheaper access to selected services. BBC NEWS

Bahrain detains journalist after sensitive anti-gov’t report
Bahrain’s security forces have detained a reporter following the publication of an article on a bill seeking to deprive families of state-provided homes if the household head has had his nationality revoked, according to local human rights activists. Security arbitrarily detained journalist Mahmoud Jaziri reporting for Al-Wasat newspaper from his house on Monday, Bahrain Forum for Human Rights said in a statement. He was taken to an unknown destination. RT

Another environmental activist is killed in Peru
A community leader that vocally opposed the construction of a major dam has been murdered in his home in Peru’s Cajamarca region. Rojas Gonzales, 34, had been fielding death threats and insults for years for his activism against a hydroelectric dam project that would take advantage of the Marañón River waters, one of the most important in the Amazon basin. MONGABAY

French journalist leaving China after being forced out
A French journalist is leaving China after being denied press credentials and facing heavy criticism from the Foreign Ministry and state media over her reporting. Ursula Gauthier, a longtime journalist for the French news magazine L’Obs, planned to board a flight out of Beijing shortly after midnight Friday. ABC NEWS

44 journalists will spend New Year’s Eve in prison in Europe
According to reports from the national affiliates of the European Federation of Journalists, 44 journalists will spend New Year’s Eve in prison in Europe: 33 in Turkey, 10 in Azerbaijan and one in Russia. All of them are in prison just for having done their job. EUROPEAN FEDERATION OF JOURNALISTS