Each year, PEN Centres and members worldwide commemorate the Day of the Imprisoned Writer to raise awareness of the unjust imprisonment and other forms of attack against writers around the globe, to remember those who have been killed, and stand in solidarity with imprisoned and threatened colleagues.
Scottish PEN are marking this year’s Day of the Imprisoned Writer with a reading focused on free speech in Saudi Arabia, which will take place from 1-2pm on Thursday, 12th of November, at both the University of Glasgow (exact place to be confirmed) and at the University of Edinburgh, 50 George Square, Lecture Theatre G.03. We will be reading extracts of Raif Badawi and Hamza Kasgari’s writing.
Raif Badawi is a Saudi Arabian writer, activist and blogger. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison, 1,000 lashes and a fine.
Hamza Kasgari is a Saudi Arabian poet and former columnist for the daily newspaper al-Bilad. He was jailed for two years without trial for posting three tweets to the prophet Mohammed.
Ali Mohammed al-Nimr is a 21 year old Saudi Arabian student who has been sentenced to death for taking part in Arab Spring protests as a teenager. The sentence is beheading followed by crucifixion.
‘November 15 is a day of action and acknowledgement,’ said Marian Botsford Fraser, former Chair of PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee. ‘It is PEN’s way of saying to all of our 900 imprisoned, harassed, murdered and disappeared writers: you are not silenced. You are not forgotten. We stand with you and fight for you.’