Imprisoned Pens


An email from the PEN American Center on the plight of recently arrested Liu Xiaobo says, "Recently we learned that Liu is going to be tried on charges that could result in a 15-year prison term. I am now asking you to add your voice to the chorus of Liu’s supporters around the world by sending a letter to Chinese authorities protesting the charges and urging his immediate release." Liu is one of the originators of Charter 08, a document calling for greater openness, democracy, and respect for human rights in China. You can send the letter here.

Here is a statement from Liu, on the need to uphold the right of free speech and an appeal to writers, NGOs, and governments in free countries to put pressure on states imrpisoning writers. 

A quick jaunt around the site of Reporters Without Borders reveals a number of journalists and increasingly, bloggers and online commentators being detained for exercising the rights (not freely given) of free speech and free press; 41 journalists are being held in Iran after a month's worth of unrest there.

Lest we forget imprisoned pens around the world. RWB (or RSF) has changed their website since last I visited it; there's no quick statistic available on each country page as to the number of journalists detained or missing. When the numbers were a little more up front (May of  this year) I took down the following samples, and I bet little has changed:

- Afghanistan: 1

- Azerbaijan: 1

- Burma: 14

- Camerooon: 1

- China: 30

- Cuba: 23

- Ecuador: 1

- Egypt: 1

- Eritrea: 17

- Ethiopia: 3

- Gambia: 1

- Georgia: 1

- India: 1

- Indonesia: 1

- Iran: had 7 at the time

- Iraq: 3

- Israel: 2

- Laos: 1

- Lybia: 1

- Mexico: 2

- North Kora: 3

- Phillipines: 1

- Somalia: 1

- Sri Lanka: 4

- Sudan: 1

- Syria: 5

- Turkmenistan: 2

- Uzbekistan: 8

- Vietnam: 2

- West Bank: 2

 Do not forget that others around the world are summarily imprisoned for exercising what you and I take for granted. Take action to assist those being persecuted, it is the obligation of free writers.

China, Free Press, Free Speech, Human Rights, Liu Xiaobo