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:

Yang Tongyan | Status: Deceased | China

A writer and member of the Independent Chinese PEN Center, Yang Tongyan was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment for “subversion of state power,” and died in November 2017 while… More

Aref Dalila | Status: Released | Syria

Dr. Aref Dalila, born in 1942, is a writer and former economics professor and Dean of the Faculty of Economics at Damascus University. He was an advocate of political… More

Tsering Woeser | Status: Under Threat | China

Award-winning Tibetan writer and poet Woeser was born in 1966 in Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region, where her father was a soldier in the People’s Liberation Army. More

J. S. Tissainayagam | Status: Released | Sri Lanka

J. S. Tissainayagam is a Tamil journalist for the Sunday Times whose articles have also been published in the magazine North-Eastern Monthly. He was also editor of the news… More

Ali Al-Domaini | Status: Released | Saudi Arabia

Ali Al-Domaini is a poet and writer whose publications include three collections of poetry and one novel in Arabic. As a political activist, he has campaigned for a move… More

Stanislav Dmitrievsky | Status: Under Threat | Russia

Stanislav Dmitrievsky, a human rights advocate, is continually under threat for his work promoting human rights in Chechnya. More

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

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