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:

Eric Ohena Lembembe | Status: Murdered | Cameroon

On July 15, 2013, the body of Eric Ohena Lembembe was found in his Yaoundé home. He had been tortured—with his neck and feet broken and his face, hands,… More

Xulhaz Mannan | Status: Murdered | Bangladesh

On April 25, 2016, unidentified assailants hacked leading gay rights activist Xulhaz Mannan to death in his Dhaka apartment. His friend and fellow gay rights activist, Tanay Mojumdar, was also… More

Huang Zerong (Tie Liu) | Status: Released | China

Chinese writer Huang Zerong (also known by his pen name Tie Liu) was disappeared by authorities from his Chengdu home in early May 2016. More

Marcos Hernández Bautista | Status: Murdered | Mexico

Journalist Marcos Hernández Bautista was shot in the head on January 21, 2016, as he climbed into his car at night outside a bar in the Mexican state of… More

Anabel Flores Salazar | Status: Murdered | Mexico

The body of Anabel Flores Salazar, a 32-year-old journalist from Veracruz state in Mexico, was found on February 9, 2016, along a highway in neighboring Puebla state. The coroner… More

Atena Farghadani | Status: Released | Iran

Atena Farghadani is an Iranian artist and political activist. She was first arrested in August 2014 for a cartoon she drew lampooning a family planning law, which depicted lawmakers… More

Jineth Bedoya Lima | Status: Under Threat | Colombia

Jineth Bedoya Lima is a Colombian journalist who reports on law enforcement, paramilitary groups, and abductions within Colombia. Bedoya Lima was abducted twice while reporting—once on May 25, 2000,… More

Fatima Naoot | Status: Conditional Release | Egypt

An Egyptian poet, Fatima Naoot has published 19 books to date, including seven poetry collections, nine translated anthologies from English into Arabic, and three books in literature criticism. In… More

Natalia Estemirova | Status: Murdered | Russia

On July 15, 2009, Natalia Estemirova, a journalist and human rights defender, was abducted by four gunmen on her way to work in Grozny, the capital of Chechnya. Estemirova… More

Htin Lin Oo | Status: Released | Myanmar

Htin Lin Oo, a former information officer for the National League for Democracy, was sentenced to two years in prison with hard labor in June 2015 on charge of… More