NEW YORK—In response to the arrest of 2012 Freedom to Write Award honoree Eskinder Nega and a number of other journalists and bloggers at a private gathering in Ethiopia, PEN America Director of Free Expression at Risk Programs Karin Karlekar issued the following statement:

“We are extremely concerned to hear of Eskinder’s arrest, mere weeks after he was released from serving a long prison sentence, and urge authorities to clarify any charges against him or release him immediately. With these detentions, Ethiopia risks negating the progress made by freeing scores of political prisoners in February. We call on the government to respect these detainees’ right to free expression and association, and refrain from repressing critical voices under the current state of emergency.”


PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.


Anoosh Gasparian, External Relations Coordinator: