(Washington, D.C.) – PEN America today welcomed proposed legislation that would help the United States hold governments accountable worldwide for silencing, intimidating, and assaulting political dissidents, including writers and artists, living in the United States.

The Stop Transnational Repression Act was introduced last week by Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA-30). By codifying so-called transnational repression into the federal code, the bill would help to protect free expression and human rights worldwide, PEN America said.

 “Writers and artists around the world face continued threats to their safety by regimes seeking to force them into silence. Transnational repression compounds these threats, menacing the exiled and quashing free expression across borders via the long arm of authoritarianism. We welcome this effort to codify transnational repression and hold its perpetrators accountable,” said Nadine Farid Johnson, managing director of PEN America Washington and Free Expression Programs.

The brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a U.S. resident and Washington Post columnist, inside Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Turkey, is emblematic of this growing repressive tactic. Transnational repression has been particularly targeted against writers, artists, and journalists including exiled Russian journalist, Elena Kostyuchenko was apparently poisoned in Germany, Ukrainian theater director, Yevhen Lavrenchuk was detained in Italy following an extradition request to Interpol from Russian authorities, and China has continued their aggressive campaign against political dissidents and Uyghur diaspora communities.

About PEN America

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. To learn more visit PEN.org 

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, [email protected], 201-247-5057