Each year during Banned Books Week, Amnesty International draws attention to people around the world who have been imprisoned, threatened, or murdered because of their writing, art, or other published work. As a member of the Banned Books Week Coalition and in solidarity with the American Library Association (ALA) and organizations around the world, Amnesty activists work to fight challenges to freedom of expression.
Banned Books Week 2022 is September 18 – 24, but you can take action on the cases below until October 31. AIUSA will also host a launch event on September 15 at 8pm ET/5pm PT. We hope you will join us and take action!
You have the right to say what you think, share information and demand a better world. Exercising these rights – without fear or unlawful interference – is central to living in an open and fair society. Yet across the globe governments have increased censorship and routinely imprison people for speaking out! This event will feature the works of critical voices that governments are trying to silence. We will hear from local advocates who work to promote and protect free speech!
Ahnaf Jazeem, a Sri Lankan poet and teacher, was arrested on May
16, 2020 because of a collection of his poems, and other unsubstantiated claims, under the
Prevention of Terrorism Act. He was arbitrarily detained until December 2021, when Ahnaf was
granted bail and released.
Andrea Sahouri, a journalist with the Des Moines Register, was pepper sprayed, arrested, and detained by police while covering a protest. She was charged with failure to disperse and interference with official acts. On March 10, 2021, Andrea was found not guilty of all charges. Read Amnesty’s press release here.
Shakthika Sathkumara, an award-winning Sri Lankan writer, was arrested and charged with propagating hatred and incitement of racial or religious violence for a fictional short story that he wrote. On February 9, 2021, charges against Shakthika were dropped.
Books by authors who have suffered human rights abuses because of what they write or publish.