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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Ragip Zarakolu | Status: In Exile | Turkey

Ragip Zarakolu, director and owner of Belge Publishing House and a longtime activist against censorship, is on trial for "aiding and abetting an illegal organization" under Turkey's sweeping anti-terror… More

Nay Phone Latt | Status: Released | Myanmar

Nay Phone Latt, an influential Burmese blogger and poet, was released on January 13, 2013, during a widespread amnesty. He had spent nearly four years behind bars for his… More

Lê Chi Quang | Status: Released | Vietnam

Lê Chi Quang is a lawyer and computer teacher who has written several essays criticizing the government. These essays were distributed through the Internet. More

Aung San Suu Kyi | Status: Released | Myanmar

Aung San Suu Kyi is a writer and pro-democracy activist and daughter of Burma’s independence hero Aung San. More

Siamak Pourzand | Status: Deceased | Iran

Siamak Pourzand was a journalist and film critic. He was manager of the Majmue-ye Farrhangi-ye Honari-ye Tehran, a cultural center for writers, artists, and intellectuals. More

Nguyen Vu Binh | Status: Released | Vietnam

Age 39, Nguyen Vu Binh is a former journalist who worked for 10 years for Tap Chi Cong (Journal of Communism), the official publication of the Communist Party of… More

Ramin Jahanbegloo | Status: Released | Iran

Academic and writer Ramin Jahanbegloo was arrested at Tehran airport on April 27, 2006, as he was about to leave for an international conference in Brussels, and his house… More

Nguyen Xuan Nghia | Status: Released | Vietnam

Nguyen Xuan Nghia, a poet, journalist, essayist, and novelist, served a six-year sentence for "conducting anti-government propaganda" under Article 88 of Vietnam's penal code. The indictment against him cited… More

Tran Khai Thanh Thuy | Status: In Exile | Vietnam

Tran Khai Thanh Thuy is a renowned novelist, poet, essayist, and editor of the underground democracy journal To Quoc (Fatherland) Review. She is a member of the underground pro-democracy… More