INTERNATIONAL PENs WRITERS IN PRISON COMMITTEE
DAY OF THE IMPRISONED WRITER
15 NOVEMBER 2008
In the past year, the Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of International PEN has monitored over 1,000 attacks on writers and journalists in 90 countries, 200 of whom are serving long prison, others have been threatened, harassed and attacked. Tragically, since 15 November 2007, 31 have been killed, many clearly in the pursuit of their professions, others in unclear circumstances.
On 15 November every year, PEN’s membership of writers world wide celebrates the courage of others in standing up against repression and for the principle of freedom of expression and the right to information. This Day of the Imprisoned Writer sees writers world wide sending appeals, staging events, and commemorating their fellow colleagues. Each year PEN focuses on five cases – one from each world region and each illustrating the type of repression that is faced daily by those who question, challenge and illustrate daily lives through their writings.
This year the focus cases are:
Azerbaijan: Eynullah Fatullayev – a journalist serving an eight year prison term for his political commentary and investigations into the murder of another journalist in 2005;
China: Tsering Woeser – a Tibetan writer and poet who writes in Chinese and who has been banned and suffers harassment for her writings on Tibet;
Iran: Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand – a journalist and Kurdish rights activist serving an 11-year prison sentence;
Peru: Melissa Rocío Patiño Hinostroza – a student and poet currently on trial for alleged links to a terrorist organisation, although there is no evidence of her having carried out or advocated violence;
Zimbabwe: Writers, Cast and Crew – The Crocodile of Zambezi – a play that has been banned and led to actors and crew being beaten, and the playwrights threatened.