Petitions and appeals

Bangladesh: Call for UNHRC inquiry into murders

At least nine writers, bloggers, publishers, academics, and activists have been murdered in Bangladesh since February 2015, including four in the last month alone. Dozens of other individuals including artists face an imminent threat to their lives and livelihoods and live in a state of fear due to a lack of protection offered by the […]

Call on Iranian authorities to drop charges on two musicians and a filmmaker

Human rights organisations Freemuse and the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, along with 14 other organisations, protest the 2013 imprisonment and 2015 sentencing of musicians Mehdi Rajabian and Yousef Emadi, and filmmaker Hossein Rajabian, and call on the head of the judiciary and other Iranian authorities to drop the charges against them. Mehdi […]

Iran: Musicians call for lifting concert ban

A group of musicians and artists have written to the governor of the Razavi Khorosan province in northeastern Iran to remove the ban on music concerts in Mashhad, the province’s capital and the country’s second most populous city, reported Radio Zamaneh. The musicians and artists state in the letter that the current ban will lead to […]

Call on Saudi authorities to release death sentenced poet

Freemuse protests the decision of the Saudi Arabian General Court of Abha to sentence Palestinian poet Ashraf Fayadh to death for apostasy. Used as evidence against him were several poems within his book ‘Instructions Within’, twitter posts, and conversations he had in a coffee shop in Abha. 61 organisations for artists, writers, musicians and freedom […]

Qatar: UN experts call for release of Qatari poet Mohammed al-Ajami

United Nations human rights experts called for the release of the Qatari poet Mohammed al-Ajami on the second anniversary of his prison sentencing, 20 October 2015. Al-Ajami is currently serving a 15-year prison sentence in Doha for the contents of his poetry. David Kaye, the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, Farida Shaheed, the […]

Tunisia: Calls for the release of arrested rapper Klay BBJ

On 17 October 2015, the public prosecution of the Court of First Instance in Tunis permitted National Security officers in Bab Swika district to arrest the rapper Klay BBJ (real name: Ahmed Ben Ahmed) along with two other men. They were allegedly apprehended for possession of drugs. The news agency AFP quoted a judicial source […]

Angola: Freemuse calls for immediate release of detained rapper

On 15 October 2015, the 33-year-old Angolan rapper Luaty Beirão entered his fourth week of hunger strike in protest of his detention without trial since June – along with 14 other opposition activists accused of ‘rebellion’ and of seeking to ‘attack the president’. Freemuse holds the Angolan authorities responsible for Luaty Beirão’s well-being and calls […]

Qatar: Joint call to United Nations to help imprisoned poet

16 non-governmental organisations have sent a joint letter to UN Special Rapporteurs on the imprisoned Qatari poet Mohammed al-Ajami On the commencement of the 30th session of the Human Rights Council, Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB), along with 15 international NGOs, including Freemuse, sent a letter to the UN Special Rapporteur […]

India: Actor calls for consitutional freedom of expression rights in cinemas

“I feel there should be constitutional right of freedom of expression. Either you give cinema artistes complete freedom of expressing themselves or you don’t have them in the society because in cinema, people can’t be open for attack all the time,” Indian actor Manoj Bajpayee told IANS. According to the acclaimed actor Manoj Bajpayee, the […]

Iran: Call for the release of imprisoned writer and film producer

Writer and film producer Mostafa Azizi was arrested on 1 February 2015 and convicted of national security-related offences by Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran and sentenced to eight years in prison. PEN International is calling for his immediate and unconditional release. 52-year-old Iranian writer and film producer Mostafa Azizi is feared to […]

Russia: Ukrainian film director detained seven months in Moscow

The Ukrainian film director and screenwriter Oleg Sentsov is accused of terrorism and liable to be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison. On 11 December 2014 it is seven months since Oleg Sentsov was arrested in Crimea by the Russian secret service FSB. A trial has been set for 11 January 2015. On […]

Canada: Re-opened petition to minister to end confiscation of Iranian artwork

After weeks of battle for artist Sadaf Foroughi as she tried to rescue the centerpiece of her federally subsidised art installation – a traditional Iranian ‘peep box’ known as a ‘shahre farang’ – from being destroyed after it had been intercepted by airport customs, Sadaf Foroughi succeeded in winning the right to claim her cargo. […]

USA: Petition to help artist arrested for painting a utility box

In California, USA, a local artist involved in helping build City of Santa Ana’s public art scene was arrested on 2 July 2014 for painting an electrical box. Artist Tony Pedraza faces up to a year in prison for making a piece of art that was done wholeheartedly with pride and love for his community. […]

Kazakhstan: Poet beaten in prison – call to action by PEN International

The imprisoned poet Aron Atabek – who is in ill health – has been tortured or otherwise ill-treated by prison guards. According to the poet’s son, Atabek has suffered regular beatings on the head and neck during his incarceration in Pavlodar prison. This was reported by PEN International. There is an absolute prohibition on the […]

China: Tibetan artists have to tread an incredibly fine line

Braving high risks and heavy censorship in China, Tibetan musicians sing their love for Tibet. by Dechen Pemba   Gebey, a Tibetan singer who had been detained at the end of May 2014 following a live performance in Ngaba Prefecture, eastern Tibet, has been released from detention. Gebey (sometimes spelled Gaybay or Gepey) has chosen […]

Morocco: Open letter to Moroccan minister about El Haqed

The Moroccan rapper Mouad Belghaoute – also known as Lhaqed or El Haqed, ‘the enraged one’ – was sentenced on 1 July 2014 to four months in prison amid concerns that the trial was unfair, and that he is being held because of his popularity and lyrics that condemn corruption and police brutality. Arrested on […]

Morocco: Rapper in trial that seems to never end

Within just one week, the Moroccan rapper El Haqed has appeared twice at the trial court of Ain Sebaa, Casablanca. After which the trial was postpone once again, this time until Tuesday 17 June 2014. By Dounia Benslimane, reporting from Casablanca Accused of illegal ticket sales, of being influenced by alcohol in public and of […]

Morocco: El Haqed’s hearing postponed

On 5 June 2014, Mouad Belghouate, the Moroccan rapper known as El Haqed or Lhaqed, passed by the trial court of Ain Sebaa in Casablanca, Morocco, for the third time since his arrest on 18 May 2014. Freemuse attended the hearing. By Dounia Benslimane, reporting from Casablanca At the entrance of the building, plain clothes […]

India: Pressure from fringe groups raise concern in film sector

A growing trend of fringe groups holding to ransom censor-certified films and attempting to stall their release has become a cause of concern for filmmakers, producers, and fans. In an article entitled ‘Holding Tamil box office to ransom’, The Hindu reported that insiders in the Indian film industry worry that pressure groups prevent the release […]

Turkey: World writers call on Turkey to respect freedom of expression

Leading writers from Turkey and around the world have joined PEN, the international association of writers, to call on the Turkish authorities to respect freedom of expression as a universal and fundamental human right, and to create an environment in which all citizens are able to express themselves freely without fear of censorship or punishment. […]

United Kingdom: Petition calls for music video ban

Shazad Iqbal from Bradford, England, started a petition calling for YouTube to take a music video by Katy Perry down, alleging it ‘promotes blasphemy’. The video features a man wearing an Allah-inscribed necklace being disintegrated. Shazad Iqbal claims that disintegrating the pendant ‘promotes blasphemy’. The petition collected 40,000 signatures from countries including Australia, India and […]

India: Publisher agrees to destroy book about hindu religion

Penguin Books India has said that it will destroy all available copies of the 2009-book ‘The Hindus: An Alternative History’ as part of an out of court settlement, reported The Guardian The book ‘The Hindus: An Alternative History’ written by Indologist Wendy Doniger takes a so-called “unorthodox view” of Hinduism. The out of court settlement […]

Cuba: Punk rocker Gorki reportedly again faces years in prison

On 30 September 2013, Cuban punk rocker Gorki Luis Aguila Carrasco, lead singer of the band Porno para Ricardo, was arrested. On a citation for summary judgement dated 27 January 2014, Gorki has now been called to attend a summary trial on 11 February 2014. Exiled Cuban bloggers and reporters are all convinced that the […]

Iran: Artists launch petition to end suppression of musicians

In a letter addressed to Iran’s Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Ali Jannati, a group of Iranian musicians, music principals, and supporters have asked him to end the suppression of musicians and music professionals and to ensure that artists are not imprisoned for producing artistic works. The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, […]

China: Free jailed Tibetan singers, stars tell China

In 2013, China jailed seven Tibetan singers after they wrote and performed songs celebrating Tibet, opposing China’s occupation and calling for freedom. They join three other singers imprisoned in 2012. Peter Gabriel and Radiohead back campaign to free the imprisoned Tibetan singers who have received prison sentences of up to six years Peter Gabriel, Thom […]

China/Hong Kong: Artists demand freedom from interference

More than 250 artists and arts groups have signed a petition urging the government to review its arts policy, as part of a campaign to protect autonomy and creative freedom. Campaign organisers also want the government to introduce guidelines that will prevent interference in the creative process by the management of arts organisations. The campaign was […]

Pakistan: Court stops the screening of Indian films on tv

While staying the beaming of foreign content, Lahore High Court Justice Khalid Mahmood Khan ruled that Indian films and television serials were included in “Negative List” under the current bilateral trade regime. Khalid Mahmood Khan also directed the federal government and the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to submit a detailed reply in this […]

Tunisia: Freemuse condemns imprisonment of rapper Weld El 15

Rapper Weld El 15 (real name: Ala Yaacoubi) was sentenced four months imprisonment after he turned himself in to a court in Hammamet on 5 December 2013. Freemuse condemned the verdict. “Tunisia should live up to international conventions guaranteeing free speech,” said Freemuse Director Ole Reitov. Weld El 15 was sentenced in absentia earlier in […]

Tunisia: Fugitive rapper to appeal conviction

Tunisian rapper Weld El 15, on the run since receiving a 21-month jail sentence in absentia in August 2013, will appeal the ruling in court in December 2013, his lawyer said. The new trial will take place at the court in Hammamet on 5 December 2013, the lawyer Ghazi Mrabet told AFP, adding that his […]

Iran: 18 months imprisonment of actress condemned by NGOs

Pegah Ahangarani, a 24-year-old actress, reformist filmmaker and blogger has been sentenced to 18 months in jail for the alleged crime of “action against national security and links to foreign media”. Already lionised for her 17 days’ detainment for ‘security charges’ in 2011, the reformist Iranian actor, filmmaker and blogger has now been sentenced to […]

Cambodia: Call to action for songwriter Yorm Bopha | PEN International

PEN International believes the charges against Yorm Bopha, a lands rights activist and protest song writer, to be politically motivated, designed to prevent her activities on behalf of the Boeng Kak lake community. PEN is calling for her immediate and unconditional release and shows what you can do to help. Arrested on 4 September 2012, […]

Cameroon: PEN calls for renewed support to 
imprisoned writer

PEN American Center announced that Cameroonian poet and writer Enoh Meyomesse has been named an Honorary Member of PEN and launched a dynamic interactive timeline to draw attention to his case. On 27 December 2012, Meyomesse was sentenced to seven years in prison on charges of stealing and illegally selling gold. No witnesses or evidence […]

China: Campaign for imprisoned writer and poet

An international campaign has been launched by PEN International in partnership with the Dublin-based human rights group Front Line Defenders to call for the release of poet and writer Liu Xiaobo — and that of all those currently detained in the P.R. China in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and […]

Russia: Freemuse calls for free and fair trial for Pussy Riot

Freemuse sends appeals to President Vladimir Putin, Kirill I of the Russian Orthodox Church, the public and district prosecutor and the district court, calling for a fair and free trial for the three band members of Pussy Riot In an appeal letter sent to Russian authorities on 27 July 2012, Freemuse reminds the public prosecutor and the […]



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