PEN Marks 34th Day of Imprisoned Writer
Sunday November 15th is PEN’s 34th anniversary of the Day of the Imprisoned Writer. In New Zealand it is great to see NZSA Branches working in conjunction with libraries to mark the day (known in New Zealand as Courage Day).
Courage Day is part of an ongoing programme by PEN to monitor and campaign on behalf of the hundreds of writers who are persecuted, harassed, attacked and imprisoned around the globe.
A number of specific cases are highlighted this year. In October three empty chairs were featured at the PEN International Congress in Ottawa. Two of the chairs symbolised imprisoned writers Raif Badawai and Amanuel Asrat. The third chair, for Juan Carlos Argenal Medina, stood empty in his honour following his murder outside his home in Honduras in December 2013. PEN International continues to call for justice following his murder. More
It is not too late for branches to get involved. Further details of what you can do are contained on the NZSA website.
"Writers killed makes chilling read" opinion piece on Courage Day by Dana Wensley (Otago Daily Times: 11 Nov, 2015)
Bangladesh Government: Failing Bloggers
Jennifer Clement, the newly appointed president of PEN International, has strongly criticised the Bangladesh government for its ‘colossal failure’ to protect the rights of Bangladeshis to ‘express themselves freely, without fear’.
Her statement follows the death of secular publisher Faisal Arefin. Three others were seriously injured in the attack. This is the fifth assassination this year. Faisal Arefin, from the publishing house Jagriti Prokashoni, had published Biswasher Virus (The Virus of Faith). Biswasher Virus was written by Avijit Roy, a writer and blogger featured in e-news earlier this year who was hacked to death in his office in Dhaka. More