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:

Eskinder Nega | Status: Released | Ethiopia

Eskinder Nega, a journalist and dissident blogger who is one of Ethiopia’s leading advocates for press freedom and freedom of expression, served almost 7 years of an 18-year sentence… More

Shokjang (Druklo) | Status: Released | China/Tibet Autonomous Region

Shokjang, a Tibetan writer and intellectual, was arrested in March 2015 and sentenced to three years in prison on February 17, 2016 for writing an essay and blogpost. More

Irakli Kordzaia | Status: In Exile | Georgia

Irakli Kordzaia is currently in exile owing to the continued use of threats, harassment, and intimidation by Georgian authorities in response to his work exposing government corruption and ethical… More

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

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

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

Stanislav Aseyev

Stanislav Aseyev | Status: Detained | Ukraine

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

Natalya Sharina | Status: Convicted | Russia

Natalya Sharina, head of the Ukrainian Literature Library in Moscow, was sentenced to four years of probation on June 5, 2017, for allegedly disseminating the works of Ukrainian nationalists… More

Liu Xiaobo | Status: Deceased | China

Liu Xiaobo, a renowned literary critic, writer, political activist, and 2010 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, was charged with "inciting subversion of state power," and sentenced to 11-years in prison… More

Chen Yunfei

Chen Yunfei | Status: In Prison | 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