Banned Books Week: Let's not forget the writers
Banned Books Week is often celebrated by making lists of banned volumes. But what is the fate of the writers behind those titles?
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In commemoration of Banned Books Week, Amnesty International turns our focus to the plight of individuals who are persecuted because of what they write.Skip to next paragraph
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This year celebrate Banned Books Week by doing more than reading banned books from decades past. Instead, try learning about contemporary writers and journalists whose governments have banned their works – and often imprisoned or tortured them – in an attempt to control the thoughts of the citizens by controlling what they can read.
They may be the Orwells and Paines of tomorrow.
Azerbaijani journalist Eynulla Fatullayev wrote a series of articles critical of his government. One discussed consequences for Azerbaijan of a US-Iranian war, which Azerbaijani authorities perceived as a threat of terrorism, according to Amnesty. Mr. Fatullayev was sentenced to 8-1/2 years in prison. The European Court of Human Rights ruled that his conviction violated rights to free expression, that he had been unfairly tried, and that there was “no justification for the imposition of a prison sentence.”
Uighur poet Nurmuhemmet Yasin is serving a 10-year prison sentence for writing an allegorical short story that Chinese authorities consider a condemnation of their rule in the Xingiant Uighur Autonomous Region.
Sri Lankan journalist, cartoonist, and political analyst Prageeth Eknaligoda disappeared soon after he left work at the Lanka-e-News office Jan. 24, 2010. His family suspects he was abducted by the government for his criticism of President Rajapaksa.
To learn more about these writers and how you can support them, visit Amnesty’s page on Banned Books Week.
Husna Haq is a frequent Monitor contributor.