PEN calls on Spanish authorities to drop the charges against incarcerated civil society leaders


The writers’ association denounces the excessive restrictions on the right to freedom of expression

The writers’ association PEN Català, along with the president and the executive director of PEN International, among others, denounces the excessive restrictions on the right to freedom of expression resulting from the disproportionate charges of rebellion and sedition filed against civil society leaders Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez, who have been held in pre-trial detention for over a year for having peacefully expressed their political views.

In a communiqué released on Monday that is signed by PEN Català and the signatories listed below, the organisation stresses that Catalans are being persecuted – “in a way not seen since the Franco dictatorship – for different artistic expressions, clearly attacking the right to freedom of expression and its different forms of artistic expression”.

According to the organisation, PEN’s Founding Charter defends “the free circulation of ideas within each country”. “According to this principle”, the statement reads, “members are to refuse any form of suppression of freedom of expression in the country or community to which they belong, and oppose arbitrary censorship in time of peace”.

Thus, PEN calls on the Spanish authorities “to drop the charges against Sànchez and Cuixart and to release them immediately. Beyond having expressed their ideas peacefully, they have also ensured, from the organisations over which they preside, the free circulation of ideas of writers in Catalonia,” the statement concludes.

FOTO: Pen Català

Jennifer Clement (President of PEN International)
Kätlin Kaldmaa (Secretary General of PEN International)
Carles Torner (Executive Director of PEN International)
José Eduardo Agualusa
Erri De Luca
Suso de Toro
Colm Tóibín
Mary Ann Newman
Simona Škrabec (President of PEN International’s Translation and Linguistic Rights Committee)
Burhan Sönmez (PEN International board member)
Marjan Strojan (President of PEN International’s Peace Committee)
Salil Tripathi (President of PEN International’s Committee of Imprisoned Writers)

PEN Internacional
PEN America
PEN Argentina
PEN Basque Country
PEN Canada
PEN Croatia
PEN Scotland
PEN Slovenia
PEN Estonia
PEN France
PEN Honduras
PEN Mexico
PEN Portugal
PEN Quebec
PEN Russia
PEN French-speaking part of Switzerland