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:

Dareen Tatour | Status: Released | Israel/Palestine

Poet Dareen Tatour, a Palestinian citizen of Israel who has spent more than two years in jail or under house arrest since October 2015, was convicted on May 3,… More

Shahidul Alam | Status: Detained | Bangladesh

Shahidul Alam, photographer, journalist, and activist, is currently being detained for commenting about the student protests in Dhaka, Bangladesh. More

Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo | Status: In Prison | Myanmar

Prosecutors have charged the journalists with obtaining important and secret state documents relating to the crisis in Rakhine State, from which some 680,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled since August… More

Liu Xia | Status: Released | China

Liu Xia, poet and artist, was married to the imprisoned poet, literary critic, former Independent Chinese PEN Center president, and Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, who passed away in July… 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

Galal El-Behairy | Status: On Trial | Egypt

Galal El-Behairy is an Egyptian poet, lyricist, and activist who has been in detention in Tora Prison in Cairo since March 2018. More

Nasrin Sotoudeh | Status: Detained | Iran

Nasrin Sotoudeh was abruptly re-arrested on June 13, 2018 and taken to Evin prison. According to her husband, who she managed to speak to shortly after her detention, she… More

Gui Minhai | Status: Detained | China

Hong Kong publisher and Swedish national Gui Minhai was disappeared from his vacation home in Pattaya, Thailand on October 17, 2015. Information about his current status and whereabouts is… More

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

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

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