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:
Edip Polat

Edip Polat | Status: Released | Turkey

Edip Polat is a Kurdish writer and biologist from southeastern Turkey. He is the author of five books about Kurdish issues, and has been jailed three times for advocating… More

Flag Map Of Turkmenistan

Rakhim Esenov | Status: Released | Turkmenistan

Rakhim Esenov was charged in February 2004 with “inciting social, national, and religious hatred using the mass media,” which he has indicated refers to statements made by characters in… More

Nizar Nayouf

Nizar Nayouf | Status: In Exile | Syria

Nizar Nayouf is a writer, sociologist, and human rights activist who, at the time of the PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award, was serving a 10-year prison sentence with… More

Indamiro Restano Diaz | Status: Released | Cuba

Journalist, poet, and activist Indamiro Restano Diaz has been hailed as “the father of independent journalism” in Cuba for his pioneering leadership roles in multiple free press organizations. He… More

Jean Mario Paul

Jean Mario Paul | Status: Released | Haiti

Journalist and Radio correspondent, Jean Mario Paul is a native of Petit Gôave, 20 miles southwest of Port-au-Prince. Paul was well-known for his stories broadcast on Radio Antilles exposing… More

Deyda Hydara

Deyda Hydara | Status: Murdered | Gambia

A newspaper publisher and press freedom champion, Deyda Hydara was gunned down in December 2004 for challenging increasingly restrictive press laws in the Gambia. More

Pinar Selek

Pınar Selek | Status: In Exile | Turkey

In July 1998, writer, sociologist, and feminist Pınar Selek was arrested in connection with an explosion at the Istanbul Spice Bazaar, a tragedy that led to the deaths of… More

Zone 9 Bloggers

Zone 9 Bloggers | Status: Released | Ethiopia

The Ethiopian Supreme Court on April 6, 2017, levied criminal charges against two Zone 9 bloggers, Atnaf Berhane and Natnail Feleke, three years after they were first arrested in April… More

Dzamshid Karimov | Status: Released | Uzbekistan

Dzamshid Karimov is a journalist who was held in psychiatric detention for over a year. He is known for being an outspoken critic of the government, and for his… More

Nguyn Huu Vinh and Nguyen Thi Minh Thuy

Nguyen Huu Vinh & Nguyen Thi Minh Thuy | Status: In Prison | Vietnam

On March 23, 2016, the People's Court of Hanoi sentenced Nguyen Huu Vinh to five years in prison under Article 258 (2) of Vietnam's Penal Code for "abusing democratic… More