Writers in Prison / Writers at Risk

The Writers in Prison Committee of International PEN was set up in 1960 as a result of mounting concern about attempts in an increasing number of countries around the world to silence critical voices through the harassment and imprisonment of writers. The Committee works on behalf of all writers, publishers, editors, and journalists who are detained or otherwise persecuted for their opinions expressed in writing and on behalf of those under attack for their peaceful political activities or for the practice of their profession, provided that they did not use violence or advocate violence or racial hatred, or in any other way violate the Charter of International PEN.

In the meantime, over 50 of a total of 140 member Centers of International PEN have founded their own national Writers in Prison Committees. Coordinated by the International WiPC in London, these are actively campaigning for an improvement in the conditions of their persecuted colleagues. They send protest letters and appeals to the governments concerned and lobby their own governments to intervene on behalf of detained writers and investigate cases of torture and killings. Through establishing contact with the families, and where possible, directly writing to the prisoners themselves, they provide encouragement and hope. Particularly endangered colleagues may be nominated as honorary members by individual Centers.

The International Writers in Prison Committee at the London head office of International PEN gathers information about individual cases from a wide variety of sources, seeking to attain confirmation through two independent sources. Sources include press reports, reports from individuals in the region in question, reports from other human rights groups, from PEN members themselves, prisoners’ families, lawyers, and friends, exile groups, etc.

Every six months, the International PEN Writers in Prison Committee in London publishes a country by country list of all cases PEN has been involved in during that period. The list is updated daily. A monthly bulletin informs member Centers of the latest developments. Rapid action campaigns are organized on behalf of colleagues whose life and health are in danger.

International PEN has consultative status at the United Nations and with UNESCO. Two full-time assistants work in support of the elected Chair of the International Writers in Prison Committee.

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(German) I Subscribe: Kampagne für die Pressefreiheit in der Türkei

(German) Pressemitteilung, Darmstadt, 2. Juli 2018

Das PEN-Zentrum Deutschland unterstützt die vom „International Press Institute“ (IPI) initiierte weltweite Kampagne für die Pressefreiheit in der Türkei. Zusammen mit anderen internationalen Organisationen, die sich für Meinungsfreiheit einsetzen, fordert das deutsche PEN-Zentrum: „I Subscribe“– („Ich abonniere“). Continue reading

(German) PEN-Vizepräsident und Writers-in-Prison-Beauftragter Ralf Nestmeyer im Gespräch

Ralf Nestmeyer Foto: Stefanie Silber

(German) Auf der diesjährigen PEN-Jahrestagung in Göttingen ist Ralf Nestmeyer zum neuen Writers-in-Prison-Beauftragten und Vizepräsidenten des PEN gewählt worden. Im Gespräch berichtet er über die Writers-in-Prison Arbeit und die Situation verfolgter Autorinnen und Autoren weltweit. Continue reading

(German) Oman: PEN begrüßt die Freilassung des bekannten Lyrikers Abdullah Habib

Abdullah Habib (Quelle: PEN International)

(German) 20. Juni 2018 – Update #4 zu RAN 09/16

Der wegen politisch motivierter Vorwürfe im Oman zu einer sechsmonatigen Haftstrafe verurteilte Dichter Abdullah Habib wurde am 13. Juni 2018 im Rahmen einer Generalamnestie des Regenten Sultan Qaboos anlässlich des Eid Al-Fitr, einer islamischen Feier, zum Ende des Ramadan, freigelassen. Continue reading


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