(New York, NY) – In advance of the first anniversary of the brutal murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, PEN America will take part in a series of events calling for a full investigation into his killing and for the Congress to pass legislation to ensure accountability for human rights violations in Saudi Arabia. That anniversary comes as Saudi women’s rights activist and 2019 PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write honoree Loujain Al-Hathloul marks her 500th day in a Saudi prison on Friday, September 27.

On Thursday, September 26 in Washington, PEN America’s director of free expression at risk programs Karin Deutsch Karlekar will speak on Capitol Hill at a Justice for Jamal convening featuring Senators Tim Kaine, Bob Menendez, and Chris Murphy; Representatives Tom Malinowski, Jim McGovern, and Dean Phillips; as well as UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard, and representatives from the Project on Middle East Democracy, Amnesty International, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and Human Rights Watch, among others. Register for the event here.

Karlekar will be able to speak about the ongoing fight for accountability for Khashoggi’s brutal killing, as well as outstanding threats to free expression in Saudi Arabia. On Friday, PEN America will mark 500 days since Saudi activist and PEN America awardee Loujain Al-Hathloul was imprisoned for speaking out against the mistreatment of women in the kingdom. Al-Hathloul’s sister Lina Al-Hathloul will be available to speak with members of the press.

On the anniversary of Khashoggi’s death, PEN America’s Washington director Thomas O. Melia will take part in a vigil outside the Saudi embassy in Washington on Wednesday, October 2. Melia is available to speak about the international effort to secure accountability for Khashoggi’s death, as well as PEN America’s ongoing efforts to pressure the White House to release all it knows about his murder.

To arrange interviews with PEN America experts, please contact Stephen Fee, director of communications, at [email protected] or +1 202 309 8892.


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.