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:
Necmiye Alpay

Necmiye Alpay | Status: Released | Turkey

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

Sheremet at Open Library Debate

Pavel Sheremet | Status: Murdered | Ukraine

Pavel Sheremet, a Belarusian-born Russian journalist who worked in Belarus and Ukraine, died in a car explosion in Kyiv on July 20, 2016. The Ukraine Prosecutor’s Office said the… 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

Chen Yunfei

Chen Yunfei | Status: Conditional Release | China

Chen Yunfei is a performance artist who works at the intersection of human rights activism and art. His art is overtly political, promoting the Chinese pro-democracy movement. 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