Independent journalist Armando Betancourt Reina freed after 15 months in prison


New York, August 21, 2007—The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes Monday’s release of independent Cuban journalist Armando Betancourt Reina, who had been imprisoned at the Cerámica Roja Prison in the central city of Camagüey since May 2006. Betancourt Reina, a reporter for the independent news agency Nueva Prensa Cubana, left prison Monday morning, reported the U.S.-based Radio Martí.

We are deeply sad to have lost Ms Siobhan Dowd


Dear Mr Geoff Dowd,

We are deeply sad to have lost Ms Siobhan Dowd. She will be remembered by all the PEN Centres - grateful for her contributions for 21 years.

Tarik Günersel
PEN Turkey, President

Death of Siobhan Dowd


It is with deep sadness that I write to inform you of the death yesterday of Siobhan Dowd, 47, after a long struggle with cancer. Siobhan held several senior roles at PEN. From 1984 to 1990 she was the first paid director of the Writers in Prison Committee at International PEN’s London headquarters. During her seven years there she brought to the Committee working practices that while bringing a greater professionalism to its work, allowed for the flexibility and creativity that is essential for an international body of writers. In late 1990 she moved to New York where she took the post of Director of American PEN’s Freedom to Write Committee where she continued to fight for the rights of persecuted writers abroad, as well as to challenge attacks against the First Amendment in the USA. During her stay she earned herself the title of being among the “Top 100 Irish Americans”. While in the USA, Siobhan worked on gathering material for and editing the International PEN anthology, This Prison Where I Live” published in 1996 and which remains a key reference for PEN’s work.

73rd International PEN Annual Congress


Dear Friends,
73rd International PEN Annual Congress.
On behalf of International PEN, I am pleased to be able to update you on the key decisions taken by the Assembly of Delegates at the 73rd International PEN Congress this year in Dakar.
Our thanks and congratulations must firstly go to Senegalese PEN for the organisation of a wonderful Congress which particularly celebrated the work of International PEN and its Centres in Africa.
The Assembly applauded the work of Joanne Leedom-Ackerman over the last three years as International Secretary of International PEN. Eugene Schoulgin was appointed as the new International Secretary. Eugene is a member of Norwegian PEN, a former Chair of the Writers in Prison Committee, and was a member of the Board of International PEN until his election. He has played a key role in the development of a number of new PEN Centres including Afghan PEN Centre.

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