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:

Ashraf Fayadh | Status: In Prison | Saudi Arabia

Ashraf Fayadh is a Palestinian poet, artist, and curator living in Saudi Arabia, who was sentenced to eight years in prison and 800 lashes on charges of apostasy on… More

Kirill Serebrennikov

Kirill Serebrennikov | Status: On Trial | Russia

Kirill Serebrennikov, a prominent Russian theater director, was put under house arrest on August 23 on charges of fraud. More

Yury Dmitriev | Status: On Trial | Russia

Yury Dmitriev, Russian historian and head of the Karelian branch of the human rights center Memorial, was detained in Petrozavodsk on December 13, 2016, on suspicion of production of… More

Mykola Semena

Mykola Semena | Status: Released | Ukraine

Mykola Semena was convicted under the “separatist” Article 280.1 of the Russian Criminal Code, for publicly denouncing the Kremlin’s annexation of Crimea. He was handed a 2-year suspended sentence.… More

Aslı Erdoğan | Status: In Exile | Turkey

Aslı Erdoğan is a renowned novelist and human rights activist in Turkey who is currently on trial. More

Necmiye Alpay

Necmiye Alpay | Status: Released | Turkey

Necmiye Alpay is a Turkish translator, editor, journalist and staunch defender of free expression More

Dr. Stella Nyanzi

Stella Nyanzi | Status: On Trial | Uganda

Jump to: Case Background Case Updates In Their Words Dr. Stella Nyanzi, a Ugandan medical anthropologist, activist, and writer, was convicted after writing and posting a poem online, in which she criticized Ugandan… More

Stanislav Aseyev

Stanislav Aseyev | Status: Released | Ukraine

Ukrainian journalist Stanislav Aseyev, who writes under the pen name Vasin, was captured by Russian-supported rebels on June 2, 2017. Aseyev was based in the separatist-controlled city of Donetsk and… More

Oleh Halaziuk | Status: Released | Ukraine

Oleh Halaziuk, a columnist for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), has been detained since August 2017 by Russian-supported rebels in the Donetsk region of Eastern Ukraine.  More

Law Chow Wong

Joshua Wong, Alex Chow, and Nathan Law | Status: Continued Harassment | China/Hong Kong

Joshua Wong, Alex Chow, and Nathan Law are three prominent student activists who played a leading role in the 2014 Occupy Central Movement in Hong Kong. More