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:

Dareen Tatour | Status: Released | Israel

Poet Dareen Tatour, a Palestinian citizen of Israel who has spent more than two years in jail or under house arrest since October 2015, was convicted on May 3,… More

Ashraf Fayadh | Status: Imprisoned | Saudi Arabia

Ashraf Fayadh is a Palestinian poet, artist, and curator living in Saudi Arabia, who was sentenced to eight years in prison and 800 lashes on charges of apostasy on… More

Nguyn Huu Vinh and Nguyen Thi Minh Thuy

Nguyen Huu Vinh & Nguyen Thi Minh Thuy | Status: Released | Vietnam

On March 23, 2016, the People’s Court of Hanoi sentenced Nguyen Huu Vinh to five years in prison under Article 258 (2) of Vietnam’s Penal Code for “abusing democratic… More

Ahmet and Mehmet Altan

Ahmet and Mehmet Altan | Status: Imprisoned | Turkey

Ahmet and Mehmet Altan were arrested in September 2016, as part of a wave of arrests of thinkers, writers, and journalists following the 2016 failed coup. More

Mohammed Benchicou

Mohammed Benchicou | Status: Released | Algeria

Mohammed Benchicou is the former director of Le Matin, a private daily newspaper that maintained an independent, critical editorial line toward the Algerian government. On August 23, 2003, Benchicou was… More

Kirill Serebrennikov

Kirill Serebrennikov | Status: On Trial | Russia

Kirill Serebrennikov, a prominent Russian theater director, was put under house arrest on August 23 on charges of fraud. More

Yury Dmitriev | Status: Detained | Russia

Yury Dmitriev, Russian historian and head of the Karelian branch of the human rights center Memorial, was detained in Petrozavodsk on December 13, 2016, on suspicion of production of… More

Khadija Ismayilova | Status: Conditional Release | Azerbaijan

Khadija Ismayilova is an award-winning freelance reporter who has worked for various Azeri-, Russian-, and English-language news outlets. More

Mykola Semena

Mykola Semena | Status: Released | Ukraine

Mykola Semena was convicted under the “separatist” Article 280.1 of the Russian Criminal Code, for publicly denouncing the Kremlin’s annexation of Crimea. He was handed a 2-year suspended sentence.… More

Aslı Erdoğan | Status: In Exile | Turkey

Aslı Erdoğan is a renowned novelist and human rights activist in Turkey who is currently on trial. More