‘November 15 is a day of action and acknowledgement,’ said Marian Botsford Fraser, Chair of PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee. ‘It is PEN’s way of saying to all of our 900 imprisoned, harassed, murdered and disappeared writers: you are not silenced. You are not forgotten. We stand with you and fight for you.’

In order to demonstrate how freedom of expression is being curtailed, each year PEN’s Writers in Prison Committee highlight five cases of writers currently in prison or being prosecuted from around the world that are emblematic of the type of threats and attacks faced by writers and journalists.

This year PEN is highlighting the cases of five writers from Cameroon, China, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, and Paraguay and calls for their immediate and unconditional release and for the charges against them to be dropped, along with all other writers similarly threatened. On 15 November, and the days surrounding, PEN Members will be sending appeal letters, raising publicity and staging events in support of their colleagues under attacks around the globe.

This year PEN International is advocating on behalf of the following writers:

enoh-meyomesse-1-890x395Cameroon – Dieudonné Enoh Meyomesse poet, currently serving a seven-year prison sentence. PEN believes that the charges against Meyomesse are politically motivated. He is in poor health.



HONG KONG-LITERATURE-FREEDOMChina – Gao Yu:  journalist and member of the Independent Chinese PEN Center, she was arrested on 23 April 2014. She remains detained pending trial, and faces a lengthy prison sentence if convicted.



Mahvash_SabetIran – Mahvash Sabet: teacher and poet, is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence.  She has been detained since 2008 for her faith and activities related to running the affairs of the Bahá’í religious minority in Iran.



16348Kyrgyzstan – Azimjon Askarov: journalist and member of Kyrgyzstan’s Uzbek minority who has spent his career exposing corruption. Sentenced to life imprisonment.




nelsonParaguay Nelson Aguilera: writer, teacher and member of PEN Paraguay, he was sentenced to 30 months in prison on 4 November 2014 for allegedly plagiarising a novel.  Although not currently in prison as his appeal is pending, PEN is highlighting his case in an attempt to keep him at liberty.




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