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 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.

Read the most recent PEN International case list here.

Status:
Country:

Anabel Flores Salazar | Status: Murdered | Mexico

The body of Anabel Flores Salazar, a 32-year-old journalist from Veracruz state in Mexico, was found on February 9, 2016, along a highway in neighboring Puebla state. The coroner… More

Atena Farghadani | Status: Released | Iran

Atena Farghadani is an Iranian artist and political activist. She was first arrested in August 2014 for a cartoon she drew lampooning a family planning law, which depicted lawmakers… More

Jineth Bedoya Lima | Status: Under Threat | Colombia

Jineth Bedoya Lima is a Colombian journalist who reports on law enforcement, paramilitary groups, and abductions within Colombia. Bedoya Lima was abducted twice while reporting—once on May 25, 2000,… More

Fatima Naoot | Status: Conditional Release | Egypt

An Egyptian poet, Fatima Naoot has published 19 books to date, including seven poetry collections, nine translated anthologies from English into Arabic, and three books in literature criticism. In… More

Natalia Estemirova | Status: Murdered | Russia

On July 15, 2009, Natalia Estemirova, a journalist and human rights defender, was abducted by four gunmen on her way to work in Grozny, the capital of Chechnya. Estemirova… More

Htin Lin Oo | Status: Released | Myanmar

Htin Lin Oo, a former information officer for the National League for Democracy, was sentenced to two years in prison with hard labor in June 2015 on charge of… More

Dawit Isaak | Status: In Prison | Eritrea

Dawit has been held in prison for more than a decade without being charged or brought to trial by the Eritrean government. He is a playwright, writer, and co-owner… More

The Unity Five | Status: Released | Myanmar

Four journalists Lu Maw Naing, Yarzar Oo, Paing Thet Kyaw, and Sithu Soe for the newspaper, Unity, along with the CEO, Tint San, of the newspaper were sentenced to… More

Anna Politkovskaya | Status: Murdered | Russia

Anna Politkovskaya was an accomplished journalist, writer, and human rights activist. She produced a large body of work on human rights abuses in Russia and was murdered for her… More

Xue Deyun | Status: Released | China

Xue Deyun (pen name Ma Zhe) was arrested on January 26, 1998. Xue was sentenced at the Guiyang Municipal People’s Court to five years in prison on charges of… More