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:

Liu Xiaobo | Status: Deceased | China

Liu Xiaobo, a renowned literary critic, writer, political activist, and 2010 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, was charged with "inciting subversion of state power," and sentenced to 11-years in prison… More

Dolma Kyab | Status: Released | China/Tibet Autonomous Region

Dolma Kyab is a writer and teacher in his native Tibet, born in 1976. After protests and riots broke out in Lhasa in March 2008, Dolma Kyab was reportedly… More

Bernardo Arévalo Padrón | Status: Released | Cuba

Bernardo Arévalo Padrón was arrested in August 1997 and charged with "insulting and contemptuous behavior" towards then-President Fidel Castro, for which he was sentenced to six years in prison.… More

Nurmuhemmet Yasin | Status: In Prison | China

In 2013, a number of reports were received indicating that Nurmuhemmet Yasin had passed away from a severe illness sometime in 2011 while being held at Shaya prison in… More

Mohammed Benchicou | Status: Released | Algeria

Mohammed Benchicou is the former director of Le Matin, a private daily newspaper that maintained an independent, critical editorial line toward the Algerian government. On August 23, 2003,… More

Tohti Tunyaz | Status: Released | China/Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region

Tohti Tunyaz (pen name: Muzart) is an ethnic Uyghur historian and writer. He was released from Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Prison No. 3 in the provincial capital of Urumqi… More

Zhang Jianhong (pen name: Li Hong) | Status: Deceased | China

Zhang Jianhong passed away on December 31, 2010, at a hospital in Ningbo City, Zhejiang Province. He was diagnosed with muscle atrophy and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known… More

Ven. Ngawang Phulchung | Status: Released | China/Tibet Autonomous Region

Ven. Ngawang Phulchung is the senior monk from Drepung monastery near Lhasa. He has also been singled out as the leader of the Drepung printing group, which secretly produced… More

Tal Al-Mallouhi | Status: In Prison | Syria

Tal Al-Mallouhi is a student, blogger, and poet from Homs, Syria, serving a five-year sentence for "divulging information to a foreign state." No evidence was disclosed to justify… More

Michel Kilo | Status: Released | Syria

Prominent writer and journalist Michel Kilo contributes to the leading Lebanese daily Al-Nahar and the London-based daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi. Initially, Kilo was arrested on May 14, 2006 when he… More

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