PEN International yesterday announced two winners of its 2017 Oxfam Novib/PEN Awards for Freedom of Expression: stateless Palestinian-Saudi poet Ashraf Fayadh (of Palestinian heritage, raised in Saudi), serving eight years and 800 lashes in prison, and Indian journalist Malini Subramanian:
Image from PEN International.
According to organizers, the award exists “to honour the courage of writers committed to freedom of expression despite facing countless challenges and risks.”
PEN International executive director Carles Torner said, in a prepared statement: “This award is not only our way of honouring courageous writers and journalists who continue to fight for freedom of expression at great personal risk, it is also a way of telling those who seek to silence them that the world is watching.”
During his first trial, he was accused both of insulting the King and and spreading atheism, and his poetry collection Instructions Within, which has been translated into English by poet Mona Kareem and into French by poet Abdellatif Laabi, was used as evidence.
In November 2015, Fayadh was sentenced to death. After a great international outcry, in February 2016, a Saudi court changed to a lesser sentence, of eight years and 800 lashes. This ruling is currently being appealed.
Click HERE to read more.