Dinko Gruhonjić & William Nygaard

Posted on by Tom Fleming

There has been a worrying escalation of intimidation of and death threats against writers, journalists and academics in the western Balkans in the last few years. In these pages, I’ve recently written about the Montenegrin writer and academic Boban Batrićević (LR, December/January 2023/24) and the Montenegrin-Bosnian writer Andrej Nikolaidis (LR, May 2024).  This month it […]

Posted in 530 | Comments Off on Dinko Gruhonjić & William Nygaard

Andrej Nikolaidis

Posted on by Tom Fleming

In March, the charges against Montenegrin writer and academic Boban Batrićević (LR, December 2023) were dropped. He faced up to sixty days in prison for publishing an article on the role of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro. Thank you to all readers who sent appeals. Other writers in the region, however, continue to live […]

Narges Mohammadi

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

It’s hard to believe that I first wrote about the Iranian writer, journalist and human rights defender Narges Mohammadi in these pages in June 2012. I featured her case again in March 2016 and September 2020. Mohammadi was first arrested in 1998 for her criticism of the Iranian government and was imprisoned for a year. […]

Cesario Padilla Figueroa

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Honduras is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists. When Honduras’s first female president, Xiomara Castro, was elected in November 2021, she promised to defend human rights. According to many lobby groups, she has largely failed to deliver. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has reported that […]

Freddy Quezada

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Nicaragua is in the international spotlight following a governmental crackdown on the Catholic Church. In recent years, president Daniel Ortega and his wife, Rosario Murillo, who is the country’s vice-president, have targeted clerics for speaking out against their rule. On 10 February 2023, Rolando Alvarez, a prominent Catholic bishop, was sentenced to twenty-six years in […]

Boban Batrićević

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

On 11 August 2023, the prominent Montenegrin academic and writer Boban Batrićević published an article on the independent news portal Antena M in which he detailed hateful narratives spread by priests of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro, including the glorification of war criminals. The Serbian Orthodox Church commands a significant following in Montenegro and […]

Posted in 525 | Comments Off on Boban Batrićević

Arundhati Roy

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Freedom of expression in India continues to deteriorate under the rule of the country’s prime minister, Narendra Modi. In recent months, various forms of legal harassment have been used against independent media in a crackdown on peaceful dissent and reporting deemed critical of the Indian government. On 10 October, the lieutenant governor of Delhi approved […]

Paola Ugaz

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Peru continues to be riven by political turmoil. This is partly due to corruption scandals, which have touched nearly every president in the last decade, as well as scores of lawmakers. According to Human Rights Watch, ‘many members of Congress seem more interested in horse-trading, partisan gains, and pursuing petty personal agendas … than in […]

Alaa Abd El-Fattah

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Despite its pledge in June 2022 to work ‘hard to secure his release’, the British government has failed to obtain the liberation of British-Egyptian writer Alaa Abd El-Fattah (LR, Feb 2018 & July 2022), who remains in prison in Egypt. Rishi Sunak met the Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, at the COP27 summit in Sharm […]

Merdan Yanardağ

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

The re-election in May of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as Turkey’s president, extending his two decades in power, bodes ill for press freedom and human rights in Turkey. The media landscape during the elections was dominated by pro-government outlets, while independent voices and critical journalists were silenced. At least forty-seven journalists were behind bars in May, […]

José Rubén Zamora Marroquín

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

José Rubén Zamora Marroquín, a renowned Guatemalan journalist, founder and director of elPeriódico and one of the most outspoken critics of the Guatemalan government, has been sentenced to six years in prison. On 29 July 2022, Zamora, sixty-six, was arrested at his home by the National Civil Police and had his bank accounts frozen. The […]

María Cristina Garrido Rodríguez

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

The Cuban poet and activist María Cristina Garrido Rodríguez has been in prison since July 2021 for participating in nationwide protests against the authoritarian government of her country and demanding reform. Garrido, together with her sister Angélica, joined the peaceful demonstrations of 11 July that saw thousands of Cubans taking to the streets, frustrated by […]

Posted in 519 | Tagged | Comments Off on María Cristina Garrido Rodríguez

Ales Bialiatski & Andrzej Poczobut

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

On 3 March, a court in Minsk sentenced Belarusian writer and Nobel Peace Prize winner Ales Bialiatski to ten years in prison on trumped-up charges of smuggling and of organising and financing actions that grossly violate public order. Bialiatski was tried alongside two colleagues from Viasna Human Rights Centre, Valiantsin Stefanovich and Uladzimir Labkovich, who […]

Posted in 518 | Tagged | Comments Off on Ales Bialiatski & Andrzej Poczobut

Afghan Journalists

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Everybody has a right to seek asylum in another country. Many people fleeing war, persecution or a difficult political situation will travel without papers or have to use unofficial routes to enter a safe country. Suella Braverman’s hard line on those entering the UK ‘illegally’ is injuring those in need of sanctuary. According to the […]

Roberto Saviano

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

The Italian government’s attempts to silence the acclaimed author and journalist Roberto Saviano are a blatant attack on free expression. Saviano has been charged with two counts of criminal defamation. If convicted, he faces three years in prison. On 20 March 2019, Saviano reported that he had been summoned to stand trial on charges of […]

Dissidents in Iran

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Iran continues to dominate the news in the wake of its brutal crackdown on nationwide protests against the government. Female protestors first took to the streets after the death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was detained by morality police on 13 September 2022 for allegedly not wearing her hijab ‘properly’. The demonstrations quickly […]

Server Mustafayev

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

To mark the Day of the Imprisoned Writer on 15 November, PEN highlighted the case of a Crimean Tatar, Server Mustafayev, a 36-year-old citizen journalist and human rights defender. Mustafayev is coordinator of the human rights movement Crimean Solidarity in Russian-occupied Crimea. On 21 May 2018, officers from Russia’s Federal Security Services raided Mustafayev’s house […]

Tsitsi Dangarembga & Julie Barnes

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

On 29 September, a magistrates’ court in Harare served award-winning author, filmmaker and activist Tsitsi Dangarembga (LR, March 2021) and her co-defendant Julie Barnes with six-month suspended prison sentences for ‘inciting public violence and breaching the peace’. Dangarembga, sixty-three, paid a fine of around £200 to avoid being imprisoned. If they are convicted of another […]

Posted in 513 | Tagged | Comments Off on Tsitsi Dangarembga & Julie Barnes

Mahvash Sabet

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

On 31 July, Iranian authorities rearrested the poet Mahvash Sabet (LR, December 2014; March 2016) together with two other former members of the long-disbanded Yaran-i-Iran (‘Friends of Iran’) group, Fariba Kamalabadi and Afif Naemi, on unfounded ‘spying’ charges. All three are members of Iran’s largest religious minority, the Bahá’í. The authorities sent Sabet to the […]

Writers in Myanmar

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Since Myanmar’s military seized power on 1 February 2021, journalists have been routinely targeted as part of a crackdown on freedom of expression in the country. At the end of July, writer Kyaw Min Yu (also known as Ko Jimmy) was among four pro-democracy activists executed, following a show trial at which they were denied […]

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

RLF - March

A Mirror - Westend