Two years ago today, Tal al-Mallouhi, a student, poet, and blogger who was detained in Damascus in late December 2009, was sentenced to five years in prison for “divulging information to a foreign state.” The Damascus State Security Court, whose ruling is final, did not disclose any evidence against her, and it is widely believed that she was targeted for posting poetry and other writings concerning political and social issues on her blog.

Since then, the world has watched in horror as Syria has descended into war and as human rights violations have proliferate. The terrible toll of the violence mounts by the week. Clinging to power, the Assad regime continues to hold political prisoners, including Tal—men and women who sought protested the regime’s abusive power and sought peaceful change.  

On the second anniversary of her sentencing, we are asking PEN members and supporters to write a letter to the Syrian government calling for her release. Send your letters to President Bashar al-Assad c/o the Syrian Embassy to the U.S.:

Embassy of Syria
2215 Wyoming Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20008

To learn more about Tal al-Mallouhi, wer urge everyone to read this article by PEN Member Michele Zackheim. And even more importantly, read her words:

From “You Will Remain an Example”

I will walk with all walking people
And no
I will not stand still
Just to watch the passers by

This is my Homeland
In which
I have
A palm tree
A drop in the cloud
And a grave to protect me

Translated by Ghias Aljundi