PEN American Center
Day of the Imprisoned Writer
November 15, 2008
In the past year, the Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of International PEN has monitored the cases of more than 1,000 writers and journalists in 90 countries, 200 of whom are serving long prison sentences, and the rest of whom have been detained, summoned to court, threatened, harassed or attacked. Tragically, since November 15, 2007, 39 writers have been killed, many clearly for practicing their professions, others in murkier circumstances.
Every year on November 15, PEN marks the Day of the Imprisoned Writer to honor the courage of all writers who stand up against repression and defend freedom of expression and the right to information. On this Day of the Imprisoned Writer, PEN is focusing on five cases—one from each world region and each illustrating the type of repression that is brought to bear every day against those who question, challenge or expose official lies or who paint portraits of everyday lives through their writings. PEN invites its members and friends around the world to send appeals on their behalf.
A list of journalists killed since last year’s Day of the Imprisoned Writer is available as a Word doc download on PEN’s website.
What You Can Do?
Send a Letter of Appeal
PEN urges you to take action on behalf of the many writers imprisoned around the world. This year’s Day of the Imprisoned Writer will focus on five priority cases:
Azerbaijan: Eynullah Fatullayev
Journalist serving an eight-and-a-half-year prison term for his political commentary and investigations into the murder of a fellow journalist.
China: Tsering Woeser
Tibetan writer and poet who writes in Chinese and has suffered repeated and sustained harassment for her writings on Tibet since 2004.
Iran: Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand
Journalist and Kurdish rights activist serving an 11-year prison sentence.
Peru: Melissa Rocío Patiño Hinostroza
A student and poet currently on trial for alleged links to a terrorist organization, despite a lack of evidence.
Zimbabwe: Writers, Cast and Crew of The Crocodile of Zambezi
A play that has been banned and led to actors and crew being beaten, and the playwrights threatened.
Please visit the above case pages on PEN’s website for sample letters of appeal, as well as the names and contact information of domestic and international authorities.