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Join PEN’s global day of action for imprisoned writers

Tuesday 29 October 2019 - 6:04pm

This Day of the Imprisoned Writer, PEN campaigned on behalf of writers imprisoned in Mexico, Egypt, Uganda, Turkey and Sri Lanka.

On 15 November, the Day of the Imprisoned Writer, PEN International is calling for urgent international action to protect writers and journalists worldwide who are increasingly targeted by state and non-state actors simply for carrying out their work.

‘Be they poets, investigative journalists, short-story writers, lyricists – writers are under siege across the world. PEN’s focus cases for this year’s Day of the Imprisoned Writer highlight continued and sinister efforts from Mexico to Egypt to Turkey to silence writers and curtail freedom of expression. It is also a day of global mobilisation to stand in solidarity with writers who have had their freedom taken away for speaking truth to power. It is a day when we say to those who target writers and journalists that we will not let them be silenced.’

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. On this day, our Centres, members and supporters worldwide stand in solidarity with their colleagues and call on those responsible to end their persecution. You can join this campaign by taking action below.

This year, PEN is highlighting the cases of:

  • Lydia Cacho – Celebrated writer, journalist and activist Lydia Cacho Ribeiro has faced continued harassment, death threats and attacks due to her investigative journalism and activism. Take action for Lydia Cacho here.
  • Stella Nyanzi – Ugandan academic, writer and activist Dr. Stella Nyanzi is currently serving an 18-month sentence for ‘cyber harassment’, in relation to a poem she wrote on Facebook in September 2018 criticising Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni (and his mother). Dr. Nyanzi has served almost 11 months of her sentence. Take action for Stella Nyanzi here.
  • Shakthika Sathkumara - Award-winning writer and poet, Shakthika Sathkumara, faces legal proceedings that could see him sentenced to up to 10 years in prison. Take action for Shakthika Sathkumara here.
  • Nedim Türfent – News editor, reporter and poet Nedim Türfent is serving an eight-year-and-nine-month prison sentence on trumped-up terrorism charges following an unfair trial, during which 19 witnesses said they had been tortured into testifying against him. Take action for him here.
  • Galal El-Behairy – Poet, lyricist and activist Galal El-Behairy is currently serving a three-year prison sentence for ‘insulting the military’ and ‘spreading false news’. He is being held in the notorious maximum-security Tora prison in Cairo. Take action for Galal El-Behairy here.