Free Ahmet Altan

Call to Action Turkey: Free Ahmet Altan ‘They may have the power to imprison me but no one has the power to keep me in prison.’ Ahmet Altan Writer and journalist Ahmet Altan is serving a 10-and-a-half year prison sentence on trumped up charges of ‘knowingly and willingly assisting a terrorist organisation’. First arrested in September 2016, Ahmet Altan spent over three years in pre-trial detention, in what amounts to judicial harassment. Sentenced on 4 November 2019 following proceedings marred by violations of his […]

read more . . .

Malaysia: concerns for writer summoned for questioning

1 November 2019 – PEN Malaysia and PEN International are deeply concerned by news that writer Maryam Lee has received a summons for questioning by JAIS – (Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor), the State of Selangor’s religious authority – under Section 58 (1) of the Syariah Criminal Procedure Enactment (Selangor) 2003. As Lee wrote on her blog on 24 October, she received a formal letter requiring her to give a statement on the investigation under Section 10 (a) of the Syariah Criminal Enactment (Selangor) 1995, […]

read more . . .

The PEN International community mourns the death of literary icon and friend, Toni Morrison

The PEN International community mourns the death of Toni Morrison The PEN International community mourns the death of literary icon and friend, Toni Morrison, at the age of 88 on 5 August 2019, following a short illness. A Nobel Laureate, Morrison was a long-standing and dedicated member of PEN America and Vice President of PEN International, who drew attention to African-American voices in American literature. Reflecting on Morrison’s legacy, PEN International President Jennifer Clement stated: “Our loss is double today: the world loses a […]

read more . . .

Kyrgyzstan: life sentence upheld for Azimjon Askarov

02 August 2019 – On 30 July 2019, a court in northern Kyrgyzstan upheld the life sentence of journalist and human rights activist Azimjon Askarov. Responding to the news, Salil Tripathi, Chair of PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee, said:‘This trial was a mockery of justice and exposed once again Kyrgyzstan’s broken judicial system. According to reports, Azimjon Askarov was prevented from attending his own hearing, and even his lawyer was briefly denied access to the court.  ‘UN experts have concluded that Azimjon Askarov […]

read more . . .

Brazil: International call for press freedom amidst attacks against The Intercept journalists

31 July 2019 – The 26 press freedom and human rights organisations and media outlets named below strongly condemn the recent wave of attacks and threats against the investigative news website The Intercept Brasil. We call on the authorities to ensure respect for the constitutionally guaranteed right of journalists to protect the confidentiality of their sources. The attacks began on 9 June after The Intercept Brasil published the first of a series of reports revealing apparent irregularities in the “Operation Car Wash” investigation, one of the most important corruption investigations in Brazilian history. […]

read more . . .

SRI LANKA: Release award-winning writer Shakthika Sathkumara

20 June 2019 RAN 02/19 SRI LANKA: Release award-winning writer Shakthika Sathkumara   PEN International is deeply concerned by the arrest and ongoing detention of award-winning writer Shakthika Sathkumara, charged with inciting religious hatred and violating international human rights law under Section 3(1) of Sri Lanka’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) Act No. 56 of 2007 (ICCPR Act 2007) and Article 291B of the Penal Code. Sathkumara was arrested on 1 April 2019 in connection with ‘Ardha’ (‘Half’), a short story […]

read more . . .

Highly topical issue of The Dissident Blog focuses on Hong Kong

This highly topical issue of The Dissident Blog focuses on the current developments in Hong Kong #30 Hong Kong Voices with China in View / www.dissidentblog.org While this special issue about the freedom of expression in Hong Kong is released hundreds of thousands of people are demonstrating in the streets of Hong Kong. Among them are several of the contributing writers. The 1984 agreement reached between China and the United Kingdom, where Hong Kong would retain its constitution guaranteeing the freedoms of press, speech, […]

read more . . .