NEW YORK—In response to reports relayed to PEN America by his family that Eskinder Nega, 2012 PEN/ Freedom to Write Award Winner, was prevented from leaving Ethiopia and had his passport seized while on his way to be honored at an awards ceremony in Europe, PEN America’s Karin Karlekar, Director of Free Expression at Risk Programs, issued the following statement:
“We are appalled by this callous and baseless infringement on Eskinder’s freedom of movement. There is no active court case against Eskinder, and there are no grounds for him to be prevented from leaving the country. The Ethiopian government must cease acting with such flagrant disregard for the rights of its citizens. We call upon the government to immediately return Eskinder’s passport and permit him to travel.”



PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.


Anoosh Gasparian, External Relations Coordinator: [email protected]