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

Oleh Halaziuk | Status: Detained | 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

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

Law Chow Wong

Joshua Wong, Alex Chow, and Nathan Law | Status: Released | 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

Alaa Abd El Fattah | Status: Detained | Egypt

Alaa Abd El Fattah is an Egyptian activist, software developer, and blogger. After being sentenced to a month of jail in absentia, he received a five years sentence in… More

Liu Xia | Status: In Exile | China

Liu Xia, poet and artist, was married to the imprisoned poet, literary critic, former Independent Chinese PEN Center president, and Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, who passed away in July… More

Roman Sushchenko

Roman Sushchenko | Status: Released | Russia

Roman Sushchenko, a Ukrainian journalist, was detained in Moscow on September 30, 2016, on charges of espionage, and has since been detained in Lefortovo Prison. Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB)… More

Khadija Ismayilova | Status: Conditional Release | Azerbaijan

Khadija Ismayilova is an award-winning freelance reporter who has worked for various Azeri-, Russian-, and English-language news outlets. More

Ahmet and Mehmet Altan

Ahmet and Mehmet Altan | Status: Conditional Release | Turkey

Ahmet and Mehmet Altan were arrested in September 2016, as part of a wave of arrests of thinkers, writers, and journalists following the 2016 failed coup. More