15. februar: Postkortaksjon til fengslede forfattere under LittfestBergen

Norsk PEN, avdeling Vestlandet, og LittfestBergen inviterer til postkort-aksjon. Skriv ei helsing til forfattarar, journalistar og bloggarar som sit fengsla eller er truga og forfulgt over heile verda. Kort-aksjonen har vore gjennomført i Oslo i fleire år, og no vil vi gjere det til ein tradisjon også i Bergen. Korta er laga av PEN-medlemmar og fribyforfattarar i Noreg.

Forfattarane Asieh Amini og Mansur Rajih, som sjølv måtte søke tilflukt i Noreg, vil lese dikt og skrive dei første helsingane.

Kort-aksjonen er open i Zinken Hopp på Litteraturhuset fredag 15. februar 15.30–19.00, laurdag 16. februar 12.00–14.00 og søndag  17. februar 12.00–14.00.

I samarbeid med Norsk PEN, avdeling Vestlandet.


Fengslede Forfatteres Dag 2014

På denne dagen plukker PEN Internationals dyktige etterforskere i London ut fem saker som vies særskilt oppmerksomhet.  Årets fem saker gjelder:

Nelson AGUILERA, skribent og lærer fra Paraguay, dømt til 30 måneders fengsel for påstått plagiering
Azimjon ASKAROV, journalist fra Kirgisistan, dømt til livstid for å organisere en massedemonstrasjon, samt deltagelse i mordet på en politimann
Dieudonné Enoh MEYOMESSE, poet fra Kamerun, soner syv års fengsel for påstått ulovlig salg av gull
Mahvash SABET, lærer og poet og medlem av Baha’i-samfunnet i Iran, soner 20 års fengsel på grunn av sin tro
Gao YU, journalist fra Kina som ble fengslet på mistanke om at hun “lekket statshemmeligheter til utlandet”.

På hvert navn ligger en lenke til ytterligere informasjon om hver enkelt sak.  Øverst til høyre på åpningssiden, under overskriften “Fengslede Forfattere”, ligger protestbrevene som er sendt til de aktuelle myndighetene.


Fengslede Forfatteres Dag

PEN International marks the 30th Annual Day of the Imprisoned Writer

On 15th November 2011 PEN International, the worldwide association of writers, will mark the 30th Annual Day of the Imprisoned Writer; an international day of action intended to recognize and support writers who have resisted repression of their basic human right to freedom of expression.

This year PEN International is using the occasion both to commemorate the 34 writers who have been killed in the last year and to draw particular attention to a number of recent cases from around the world which demonstrate the kinds of persecution writers and journalists continue to face in carrying out their day-to-day activities.

“For thirty years, on this day, PEN members worldwide have stood, spoken, written in solidarity with our imprisoned, murdered and threatened colleagues,” said Marian Botsford Fraser, Chair of PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee. “The writers we honour today are emblematic of the courage writers everywhere show in defiance of brutal, systemic censorship”.

This year PEN International will be advocating in particular on behalf of the following writers:

Reeyot Alemu (Ethiopia): a political columnist who has been held incommunicado and without charge since her arrest on 21st of June 2011.

Susana Chavez (Mexico): a poet and human rights activist who was murdered on 6 January 2011 in an attack many have claimed was the result of her writing and activism.

Tashi Rabten (Tibet): a poet and essayist, convicted of inciting separatism for a collection of political articles he wrote concerning the suppression of the March 2008 protests in Lhasa.

Abdul-Jalil Al-Singace (Bahrain): an activist and online blogger who has been sentenced to life imprisonment for publicising the deteriorating human rights situation in his home country.

Nadim Sener and Ahmet Shik (Turkey): journalists who have been detained for writing books and articles disclosing police and other high level links to individuals arrested in the Ergenekon case under which over 200 people are accused of being involved in coup plots.

PEN members around the world have also been using the occasion to campaign on behalf of imprisoned or persecuted writers in their own countries.

“This tool of imprisonment is used to send a message – that writers can be controlled; somehow re-educated to mind their words”, said John Ralston Saul, International President of PEN International, “That message was always wrong. It is wrong today. PEN will continue to work for the release of our colleagues”.

2005: Tunisia: M. Abbou, H. Jebali etc.

June 25, 2005

His Excellency Zine El Abidine Ben Ali
Presidential Palace
c/o Tunisian Embassy
Haakon VIIs gt. 5 B
0161 Oslo, Norway

Your Excellency,

We are writing to you to express our deep concern at the upsurge in attacks on freedom of expression in Tunisia since our first fact-finding mission in January and to urge you to act to end these attacks, which in the minds of many call into question Tunisia’s suitability to host the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in November.

As members of the Tunisia Monitoring Group (TMG), established in 2004 under the umbrella of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) to evaluate the conditions for participation in the WSIS, we met with Tunisians of different political and intellectual persuasions, including government officials, and witnessed and documented attacks on freedom of expression and association and movement in January and May.

Following months of research and monitoring of attacks on freedom of expression and harassment of journalists in Tunisia, we concluded that the credibility of the WSIS would be seriously compromised and the Tunisian authorities would assume a huge responsibility in the eyes of the international community for this, if effective measures were not taken immediately to:

1- Release from prison human rights lawyer Mohamed Abbou and Hamadi Jebali, editor of the banned weekly Al-Fajr, who are imprisoned like hundreds of other Tunisians on charges related to the peaceful exercise of their basic right to freedom of expression and association.

Local, regional and international rights groups and Western governments on friendly terms with your government, including the US administration, maintain that these prisoners, known worldwide as political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, have neither used nor advocated the use of violence and have been denied the right to a fair trial.

Abbou was kidnapped by the police in the streets of Tunis on March 1, 2005, less than 24 hours after posting a piece on the Internet criticizing the government’s decision to invite Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to the WSIS. Paradoxically, he was sentenced by a criminal court in Tunis, following an unfair trial on April 28, to three and a half years of imprisonment for publishing statements last year “likely to disturb public order” and for “defaming the judicial process” and also for “violence”, nearly three years ago, against a female lawyer close to the government. A Tunisian appeals court on June 10 confirmed his prison sentence following a hearing that fell short of international standards for a fair trial, according to human rights defenders and diplomats.

The opinion piece used to indict Abbou was not the one he posted on the Internet on the eve of his abduction by the police, but another posted in August 2004 in which he compared the inhumane conditions in the US-run Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq to those prevailing in Tunisian prisons.

Arrested in 1991 following the publication in Al Fajr of an opinion piece by human rights lawyer Mohamed Nouri on the unconstitutionality of military courts, Jebali is currently serving a 16-year sentence for allegedly belonging to an “illegal association” and attempting “to change the nature of the state”.

2- End arbitrary administrative sanctions and unrelenting police harassment compelling journalist Abdallah Zouari to live nearly 500 km from his wife and children and preventing him from earning a living or even from using public Internet cafes.

3- Release all banned books and publications, including those written by prominent democracy advocates like Mohamed Talbi and Moncef Marzouki, and edited by institutions committed to human rights education like the Arab Institute for Human Rights, the Tunisian Association of Democratic Women and the Temimi Foundation.

The IFEX TMG welcomed your announcement on May 27 to abolish the legal submission procedure applicable to the press, but made clear at the same time to the Tunisian authorities that the release of all blocked books and publications in Tunisia would be interpreted as “a step in the right direction.”

4- Recognise the inalienable right of civil society groups to operate freely and without any form of harassment of their leading figures and members. The recognition of and respect for the National Council for Liberties in Tunisia, the Tunis Center for the Independence of the Judiciary, the Association for the Struggle against Torture, the International Association to Support Political Prisoners, the League for Free Writers, Raid-Attac Tunisia and many others would bring Tunisia into conformity with international human rights standards and enhance its image worldwide.

5- End harassment of independent journalists and leading figures of the Tunisian Journalists’ Syndicate, whose establishment in May 2004 was in conformity with the Tunisian Labor Code.

6- End the abusive use of the Law on Terrorism ironically promulgated on December 10, 2003 and which unfortunately turned out, according to local and international human rights groups, to be a tool to silence and punish critics of the government. One of the latest victims of this law is the Arab Institute for Human Rights (AIHR). The assets in Tunisian banks of this regional institution, aimed, since its establishment in Tunis in 1989, at raising human rights awareness in the Arab world, have been frozen for political reasons.

7- Make sure that the right to establish media outlets is not solely reserved for individuals or groups close to the government or implemented in the absence of basic rules of fairness and transparency and that the right to access Internet cafes and to freely surf the Web is not restricted.

Thank you for your attention to this letter. We look forward to your early reply.

Members of the IFEX-TMG:
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE)
Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR)
Index on Censorship, UK
International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)
International Publishers’ Association (IPA), Switzerland
Journaliste en danger (JED), Democratic Republic of Congo
Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), Namibia
Norwegian PEN
World Association of Newspapers (WAN), France
World Press Freedom Committee (WPFC), USA
World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC)
Writers in Prison Committee of International PEN (WiPC), UK