November 15, Day of the Imprisoned Writer

Added: November 2006 to Events, Festivals and Opportunities

This November 15 marks the 26th annual International PEN Day of the Imprisoned Writer.

To bring attention to the seriousness of the use of "insult" and defamation laws by which writers are being censored and/or prosecuted, International PEN focuses this year on five acute situations:

Hrant Dink of Turkey

Wesenseged Gebrekidan of Ethiopia

Lydia Cacho of Mexico

Yang Xiaoqing of China

And Ibrahim Issa and Sahar Zaki both of Egypt

Please send letters of protest to the addresses that are included in each of the five case profiles.


It is also important to remember the writers whom PEN has focused on in past years. The oldest unresolved case is that of Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma.

Other writers to remember include

  • (from 2002) Siamak Pourzand of Iran, an elderly film critic serving an 11-year prison sentence
  • (from 2003) The five Internet journalists who are serving sentences ranging from 16 to 26 years (two of the original seven have been conditionally released)
  • (2005) Shi Tao of China, poet and actives sentenced to 10 years for internet writing


Please note: You do not have to be a member of PEN or even a writer to make a show of solidarity and make a difference. For information on how to write letters of protest, please see the International Freedom of Expression eXchange (IFEX) Campaign Handbook (section 3.10).

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