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PEN calls for urgent protection of writers and journalists across the globe on the Day of the Imprisoned Writer

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Oleg Sentsov, Miroslava Breach Velducea, Wael Abbas, Shahidul Alam, Dawit Isaak

On 15 of November, the Day of the Imprisoned Writer PEN International is calling for urgent international action to protect writers and journalists across the globe, who increasingly find themselves targeted – and in some cases murdered – for their peaceful free expression work.

"Authoritarian governments are becoming increasingly emboldened and are targeting writers and journalists in ever greater numbers. Some are paying a heavy price for merely carrying out their work. PEN's annual Day of the Imprisoned Writer invites supporters of free expression across the world to stand in solidarity with our courageous colleagues and to send a message: they will not be silenced, their readers will not be silenced, we will not be silenced, this bond of writers and readers won’t be silenced.” - said Salil Tripathi, Chair of PEN International's Writers in Prison Committee.

Each year, PEN highlights the cases of five persecuted writers, be they imprisoned, facing prosecution or otherwise at risk – that are emblematic of the type of threats and attacks faced by writers and journalists around the world. This year, we have also included a case of a murdered journalist, Miroslava Breach Velducea from Mexico, in recognition of the increasingly extreme violations taking place. On this day, our Centres and members worldwide stand in solidarity with their colleagues and call on those responsible to end their persecution.

This year, PEN is highlighting the cases of:


In 2017, the PEN International global community campaigned on the cases of Cesario Alejandro and Félix Padilla Figueroa facing ongoing prosecution in Honduras; blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh who was serving a 10-year prison sentence in Viet Nam; award-winning cartoonist and activist Ramón Esono Ebalé who was detained in Equatorial Guinea; human rights defender, blogger, and lawyer Razan Zaitouneh disappeared in Syria; poet and artist Zehra Doğan imprisoned in Turkey and the Palestinian poet, Dareen Tatour.

Since then Dareen Tatour, Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh and Ramón Esono Ebalé have all been released from prison; we thank all those who have campaigned with us on these cases.

Arundhati Roy writes to Shahidul Alam

Tom Stoppard writes to Oleg Sentsov

David Lagercrantz writes to Dawit Isaak

Khaled Hosseini writes to Wael Abbas

Jennifer Clement writes to Miroslava Breach Velducea

Salil Tripathi writes to Shahidul Alam

For more information on the cases please contact Sahar Halaimzai at PEN International: | +44 20 7405 0338