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The Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International was set up in 1960 as a result of mounting concern about attempts to silence critical voices around the world. An office was set up at the PEN head office in London to gather information and to alert the PEN membership to take action. The WiPC is now staffed by a team of experts who monitor around 1,000 attacks on writers, journalists, editors, poets, publishers and others in any given year. These include long prison terms, harassment, threats, and murder.

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The Turkish authorities must drop all charges against award-winning writer Aslı Erdoğan, who faces up to nine years and four months in prison for her writings, PEN International said today, ahead of an expected verdict on 14 February 2020. Aslı Erdoğan was detained in August 2016 following a police raid on her apartment. She was arrested alongside more than 20 other journalists and employees from the now-closed pro-Kurdish daily Özgür Gündem, where she served as an advisory board member and …

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  Melbourne University lecturer Kylie Moore-Gilbert has been held in the notorious Evin prison in Tehran since October 2018, serving 10 years for espionage. Key points: Dr Moore-Gilbert said in a letter that her health “has deteriorated significantly” She said she would not change her decision on the offer to spy for Iran under any circumstances Dr Moore-Gilbert said it was “inhumane” being denied opportunities to speak to her family Read the full ABC report at the link below: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-22/kylie-moore-gilbert-jailed-rejects-irans-offer-to-become-a-spy/11888424

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London-based Australian human rights lawyer Jennifer Robinson has been a legal adviser to Assange and Wikileaks since the start of this decade. Ms Robinson says the indictment of Assange “sets a terrifying precedent” by “criminalising common journalistic practices which have been used towards the public interest for decades in the United States”. In November 2019 she spoke at public meetings organised by PEN Sydney and Melbourne centres. Here she talks with Quentin Dempster about the realities of the charges Assange …

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It is clear that the right to freedom of expression is increasingly under threat in Nigeria, PEN International said today, amid reports of the arrest and detention of journalists in the country. The organisation calls on the Nigerian authorities to uphold the right to freedom of expression, enshrined in the Nigerian constitution, by releasing journalists detained for peacefully expressing themselves via their work or activism, and allowing journalists to carry out their work free from interference. One example of the …

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Mammad Aidani Iran – Out of sight, out of mind? PEN Melbourne Statement on Iran, 26 November 2019 Mammad Aidani, PEN Melbourne Committee Member PEN International has condemned the Iranian government’s persecution of its citizens on the basis of their language, literature, and culture. Iran is especially notorious for its jailing and torture of writers, such as journalists, Narges Mohammadi, Mohammad Mosaed, and Masoud Kazemi among many others. The latter was told by the judge at …

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