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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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Elchin Mammad | Credit: Mammad’s Facebook page PEN International is highly concerned about the arrest and continued detention of reporter, lawyer and human rights defender Elchin Mammad. On 30 March 2020, a few days after Mammad published a critical report on the human rights situation in Azerbaijan, police arrested him at his home, claiming to have found stolen jewellery in his office. The next day, Sumgait City Court remanded Mammad in custody for three months as …

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February 2020 The Hon. Scott Morrison MP Prime Minister Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet PO Box 6500 Canberra ACT 2600 Australia Re: A Humanitarian Promise Dear Prime Minister, Before we focus on the reason for this letter, the undersigned international translator and interpreter associations, together with our human rights partners, would like to express our profound sorrow at the loss of life and the devastation wrought by the bushfires in your country. With that in mind, we write …

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Recently we received this beautiful postcard from Nedim Turfent in response to cards sent to him by PEN Melbourne members. October 2019 – Responding to the news that reporter, news editor and poet Nedim Türfent had his prison sentence upheld by Turkey’s Court of Cassation yesterday, Salil Tripathi, Chair of PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee, said: ‘We deplore the decision of Turkey’s Court of Cassation to uphold Nedim Türfent’s lengthy and unfair prison sentence, despite blatant violations of his …

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It couldn’t happen here? It just did.  It took Annika Smethurst months to hear the sound of her doorbell without it triggering a rush of anxiety. She has become a household name since the AFP raided her home in June 2019, rifling through her personal belongings in relation to articles she wrote more than a year earlier. In those articles based on leaked documents, she wrote about an internal proposal to expand the powers of some intelligence agencies from spying …

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RESOLUTION ON THE ABUSE OF THE US ESPIONAGE AND THE US PROSECUTION OF JULIAN ASSANGE AS AN ATTACK ON FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION Proposed by Norwegian PEN, seconded by Swedish PEN and Danish PEN PEN International expresses concern over the US government’s indictment against WikiLeaks founder and publisher Julian Assange and the threat his prosecution poses to press freedom. In May 2019, Julian Assange was indicted by the US Justice Department on 17 counts of violating the US Espionage Act for …

As a member of PEN Melbourne, you will receive a monthly Update with news about our activities and campaigns, and invitations to a program of events with renowned Australian and international writers and activists. The PEN Melbourne Journal is also produced twice a year and distributed free to members.

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