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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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  Human Rights Lawyer’s Health in Serious Danger October 20, 2020 — Nasrin Sotoudeh, the imprisoned human rights attorney, has been moved to the notoriously harsh Gharchak Prison (also spelled Qarchak) in the Iranian city of Varamin, south of Tehran, despite grave medical issues that require her hospitalization, her husband, Reza Khandan said today, October 20, 2020. Sotoudeh, who has serious cardiac and pulmonary complications after being on a hunger strike from August 11 to September 26, 2020 to protest …

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As part of a new policy to isolate political prisoners by incarcerating them alongside common criminals at various prisons in Iran, three women convicted of national security crimes for opposing Iran’s mandatory hijab laws were recently transferred out of Evin Prison’s Women’s Ward, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. Yasaman Ariyani and her mother Monireh Arabshahi, were transferred to Rajaiee Shahr Prison in Karaj, west of Tehran, and Samaneh Norouz-Moradi to the central prison in Roudsar, …

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And now there is another unknown person ringing at my door.  Svetlana Alexievich, Belarus, 9 September 2020 The members of PEN Melbourne know full well what this knock at the door signifies for a writer  who has spoken out courageously against their tyrannical government. PEN Melbourne condemns the arbitrary arrests of members and staff of the Belarus PEN centre  for carrying out peaceful protests against the recent presidential election result following claims  that the vote was falsified. Those detained include …

Latest events

Maria Ressa: Freedom and Fakery in the Philippines Today Maria Ressa is a veteran investigative journalist and the CEO of the influential Philippine news portal Rappler. In June this year, she and a colleague were found guilty of cyberlibel, in a dubious court decision that many believe was politically motivated.Ressa has been a dogged and long-time critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, and of his supporters. The relationship between Ressa, as a journalist, and Duterte, as a political figure, dates back to …

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  Today marks the second year of Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert’s incarceration in Iran, firstly in Evin Prison and more recently in Qarchak Prison, notorious for its human rights abuses. PEN Melbourne acknowledges the unimaginable anguish of Kylie’s family and the concern of  colleagues and friends – see below. We lend our support to the cause of bringing her home at the earliest opportunity.You can help by writing to the Minister for Foreign Affairs urging her to act, and by writing directly to …

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