Writers At Risk

PEN’s bedrock work is long-term advocacy on behalf of individual writers who are being persecuted because of their work. This page features several of our highest priority cases. With the help of our members and supporters, we are carrying out campaigns to win their release and ensure they are safe and can write and publish freely.

Take a moment to share information about these writers and take action on their behalf.

This is only a small sampling of writers under threat around the world. Click here for the most recent PEN International case list.

Status:
Country:

Kirill Serebrennikov | Status: House Arrest | Russia

Kirill Serebrennikov, a prominent Russian theater director, was put under house arrest on August 23 on charges of fraud. More

Mykola Semena | Status: Convicted | Ukraine

Mykola Semena is a renowned Ukrainian journalist from Crimea, who was charged under the “separatist” Article 280.1 of the Russian Criminal Code for publicly denouncing the Kremlin’s annexation of… More

Necmiye Alpay | Status: On Trial | Turkey

Turkish translator, editor, journalist and staunch defender of free expression More

Dareen Tatour | Status: House Arrest | Israel/Palestine

Poet Dareen Tatour is a Palestinian citizen of Israel who is currently under house arrest while awaiting trial on charges of incitement to violence and support of terrorism. She… More

Aslı Erdoğan | Status: On Trial | Turkey

Aslı Erdoğan is a renowned novelist and human rights activist in Turkey. She is also a columnist for Özgür Gündem newspaper, a pro-Kurdish opposition daily, and a member of its advisory board.… More

Ahmed Naji | Status: On Trial | Egypt

Ahmed Naji has been temporarily released from prison in Egypt on December 22, 2016, after his two-year prison sentence for “violating public modesty” was suspended by an appeals court… More

Ashraf Fayadh | Status: In Prison | Saudi Arabia

Ashraf Fayadh is a Palestinian poet, artist, and curator living in Saudi Arabia, who was sentenced to eight years in prison and 800 lashes on charges of apostasy on… More

Oleg Sentsov | Status: In Prison | Russia

Oleg Sentsov, a Ukrainian film director, was sentenced to 20 years in a Russian prison on charges of terrorism on August 25, 2015. PEN believes that the charges stem… More

Ilham Tohti | Status: In Prison | China

Ilham Tohti, a Uyghur economist, writer, and professor, is currently serving a life sentence for promoting ethnic harmony and understanding. More

Liu Xiaobo | Status: Deceased | China

Liu Xiaobo, a renowned literary critic, writer, political activist, and 2010 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, was charged with "inciting subversion of state power," and sentenced to 11-years in prison… More

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