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:

Zouhair Yahyaoui | Status: Deceased | Tunisia

The Freedom to Write Committee mourns the passing of Zouhair Yahyaoui. According to his family, he died of a heart attack on Sunday, March 13, 2005. He was arrested… More

Shi Tao | Status: Released | China

Shi Tao is a journalist, poet, and member of the Independent Chinese PEN Center serving a 10-year sentence for “illegally divulging state secrets abroad" after he forwarded a Propaganda… More

Aung Than & Zeya Aung | Status: Released | Myanmar

Aung Than is a member of the National League for Democracy (NLD) and Zeya Aung is a student at Pegu University. Together they wrote a book of poems called… More

Mamadali Mahmudov | Status: Released | Uzbekistan

Mamadali Mahmudov is a renowned Uzbek writer and opposition activist who was released in 2013 after serving a 14-year sentence on charges related to a series of explosions in… More

Aung Myint | Status: Released | Myanmar

Aung Myint (also known as Phya Pon Ni Loan Oo) is a journalist, poet, and head of the information department of the National League for Democracy (NLD). Aung started… More

Zaw Thet Htwe | Status: Released | Myanmar

Zaw Thet Htwe, respected journalist and political advocate, worked as an editor and journalist at First Eleven Sports News, a popular sports journal Burma. After Cyclone Nargis struck on… More

Muhammad Bekjanov | Status: Released | Uzbekistan

A prominent Uzbek journalist in the period immediately following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Muhammad Bekjanov came to be recognized as a leading voice in the struggle for… More

Zarganar | Status: Released | Myanmar

Maung Thura (“Zarganar”) is a poet, opposition activist, and leading comedian in Burma. He began a career in political activism through comedy while completing his undergraduate degree. As a… More

Dzamshid Karimov | Status: Disappeared | Uzbekistan

Dzamshid Karimov is a journalist who was held in psychiatric detention for over a year. He is known for being an outspoken critic of the government, and for his… More

Ruslan Sharipov | Status: In Exile | Uzbekistan

Ruslan Sharipov was one of several dozen students chosen to participate in a government-sponsored exchange program with U.S. universities in the fall of 1999. When Uzbek authorities canceled that… More

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