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 […]

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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 […]

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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. […]

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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 […]

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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, […]

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PEN International Turkey: Ayşe Düzkan freed

Turkey: Ayşe Düzkan freed     PEN International welcomes the release of Turkish writer, journalist and publisher Ayşe Düzkan, who was serving an 18-month prison sentence for ‘making propaganda for a terrorist organisation’. Düzkan was imprisoned for taking part in a solidarity campaign in 2016 with the now-closed pro-Kurdish daily Özgür Gündem. She was sent to Bakırköy prison in Istanbul on 29 January 2019 and conditionally released on 11 June 2019. Ayşe Düzkan’s sentence is a stark reminder of the continuing assault on freedom of […]

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PEN International Turkey: Free Ayşe Düzkan / Turquie: Libérez Ayşe Düzkan / Turquía: Libertad para Ayşe Düzkan

Call to Action Turkey: Free Ayşe Düzkan ‘Free journalism provides the best chance we have that people can access truth and reality about the societies we inhabit. Everyone deserves that. Strange as it may seem, my spirits are high and my mood is good. We have a saying in Turkish that might be translated as “This will come and pass, too”. I am not brave, I am not a heroine, I try to do what seems right and doing that feels like happiness.’ Ayşe […]

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