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:

Gao Yu | Status: House Arrest | China

Accused of leaking state secrets, Chinese investigative journalist Gao Yu is serving a 5-year prison sentence despite serious health concerns. For now, she has been released from jail because… More

Khadija Ismayilova | Status: Conditional Release | Azerbaijan

Khadija Ismayilova is an award-winning freelance reporter who has worked for various Azeri-, Russian-, and English-language news outlets. More

Waleed Abu al-Khair | Status: In Prison | Saudi Arabia

Waleed Abu al-Khair is a Saudi Arabian lawyer, human rights activist, and founding member of the Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia (MHRSA). The author of numerous articles,… More

Raif Badawi | Status: In Prison | Saudi Arabia

Raif Badawi is a blogger from Saudi Arabia and the editor of the website Liberal Saudi Network. More

Liu Xia | Status: House Arrest | 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

Fazil Say | Status: Released | Turkey

Fazil Say is a world renowned Turkish pianist and composer who was convicted of insulting Islam and offending Muslims in postings on Twitter on April 15, 2013. More

Ta Phong Tan | Status: Released | Vietnam

Ta Phong Tan is a Vietnamese Blogger, jurist, and former police officer. She was arrested on September 5, 2011 and sentenced to 10 years in prison for “conducting propaganda… More

Kunchok Tsephel | Status: In Prison | China/Tibet Autonomous Region

Kunchok Tsephel is a prominent internet writer and editor of the Tibetan-language website Chomei (Butter Lamp), which promotes Tibetan culture and literature. He was arrested in February 2009 and… More

Rodney Sieh | Status: Released | Liberia

Rodney Sieh, founder of FrontPageAfrica, is a Liberian journalist with over seventeen years’ experience working in Liberia and abroad. More

Mohammed al-Ajami | Status: Released | Qatar

Born on December 24, 1975, Mohammed al-Ajami, a Qatari citizen, is a poet and a third-year literature student at Cairo University. He is married with two daughters and two… More

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