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:

Léster Luis González Pentón | Status: Released | Cuba

Léster Luis González Pentón is an independent journalist and political activist. In 2002, he co-founded El Movimiento por la Democracia (the Movement for Democracy) and later the ALFA-3 Movement,… More

Dr. José Luis García Paneque | Status: Released | Cuba

Dr. José Luis García Paneque is an independent journalist and librarian. He is a member of the Manuel Marquez Sterling Journalists’ Association, an independent association that the Cuban government… More

Jean-Claude Kavumbagu | Status: Released | Burundi

Following his July 2010 arrest, Jean-Claude Kavumbagu was charged with treason, which carries a life sentence in Burundi. Kavumbagu's trial was held on April 13, 2011. On May 13, 2011, the… More

Huang Jinqiu | Status: Released | China

Born in 1974 in Shangdong Province, Huang Jinqiu is an Internet essayist, writer and journalist. A graduate of Beijing's respected Lu Xun Literature Institute and the University of Lincoln… More

Mohammed Abbou | Status: Released | Tunisia

Mohammed Abbou, an Internet writer, lawyer, and human rights activist, was arrested on March 1, 2005, for an article published on the Internet nine months earlier that denounced torture… More

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, Benchicou was… More