15 November 2011 marked PEN International’s Day of the Imprisoned Writer. The Day of the Imprisoned Writer is an annual, international day intended to recognize and support writers who resist repression of the basic human right to freedom of expression and who stand up to attacks made against their right to impart information.
This year we focused on a number of specific cases from around the world that represent the type of threats and attacks faced by our colleagues. These were:
- Reeyot Alemu (Ethiopia): political columnist who has been held incommunicado and without charge since her arrest on 21st of June 2011. Ms. Alemu is believed to be detained under Ethiopia’s sweeping 2009 antiterrorism law.
- Susana Chavez (Mexico): 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): 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): 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.
The day was also used to commemorate the 33 writers and journalists killed since 15 November 2010.
Update: Report on Centre Activities for Day of the Imprisoned Writer 2011 released.
On 14 December 2011, PEN International released a report highlighting the activities that PEN centres and members organised to commemorate the Day. These activities ranged from public demonstrations to press conferences, award ceremonies, poetry readings, theatre events and letter writing sessions, to name just a few.
To find out more about the events organized by PEN centers and members to mark the Day please click here to see our report.