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.

PEN America examines threats to free expression in our annual Freedom to Write Index, a year-end count of imprisoned writers worldwide. Explore our Writers at Risk Database for updated tracking of cases of writers, journalists, artists, academics, and public intellectuals around the world facing myriad threats for their writing and expression. Read the most recent PEN International case list here.

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.

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Avijit Roy

Avijit Roy | Status: Murdered | Bangladesh

On February 26, 2015, Bangladeshi-American blogger Avijit Roy and his wife Rafida Ahmed Bonya were brutally attacked by assailants wielding machetes outside of the Dhaka Boi Mela book fair.… More

Sepideh Jodeyri | Status: In Exile | Iran

Sepideh Jodeyri is an Iranian poet who translated the French graphic novel Blue is The Warmest Color by Julie Maroh into Persian. Jodeyri’s translation of the novel, which tells… More

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