Saturday, January 23, 2010

PEN News: January 19, 2010‏

American PEN News: January 19, 2010‏

ADVOCACY NEWS

Writers Rally on New Year’s Eve Calling for Release of Liu Xiaobo
E.L. Doctorow, Don DeLillo, A.M. Homes, Edward Albee, and dozens of other PEN Members staged a rally on the steps of the New York Public Library to protest the imprisonment of writer Liu Xiaobo:

Video and transcripts of readings and remarks
PEN President Anthony Appiah discussing the case on CNN
The seven sentences for which Liu Xiaobo was convicted

>> TAKE ACTION NOW: Write to Chinese authorities demanding Liu Xiaobo’s release

PEN Actions Improve Prospects for Detained Chinese Writer
Recent PEN actions have prompted better treatment of Zhao Shiying, the Secretary General of the Independent Chinese PEN Center, who was detained on January 14. >> More

Tamil Journalist J. S. Tissainayagam Released on Bail
Tissainayagam, one of PEN’s priority cases, is free pending his appeal of a 20-year prison sentence PEN considers a violation of his right to freedom of expression. >> More


UPCOMING EVENTS

Monday, February 8:
Crafting a Career as a Children’s or Young Adult Author—Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
Distinguished authors Brian Floca, Richard Peck, Jane O’Connor, Marilyn Singer, and David Levithan discuss issues of subject matter, book censorship, access to publishers, and book promotion. >> More

Monday, March 1:
Words and Music: Péter Esterházy and András Schiff
Peter Esterházy, “one of the most interesting and original writers of our time,” reads from his magnum opus Celestial Harmonies, with musical interludes by András Schiff. A conversation with Esterházy follows. >> More


NEW AT PEN.ORG

New Homepage
Visit www.pen.org to see PEN’s new homepage, with featured events, multimedia, and listings from Grants & Awards, along with feeds from Twitter and the PEN Blog. >> More

2009 in Review
The Year in Review Feature, now online, showcases just a few of PEN’s events, publications, and advocacy campaigns from 2009. >> More

Who Will Speak for the Child?
Walter Dean Myers, Deborah Ellis, Uzodinma Iweala, along with legal scholars and advocates, discuss what can be done to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child. >> More


PEN American Center
588 Broadway, Suite 303
New York, NY 10012
Tel. (212) 334-1660
Fax. (212) 334-2181
www.pen.org

Friday, January 22, 2010

MEXICO: Newspaper editor shot dead

MEXICO: Newspaper editor shot dead


5 January 2010

RAN 01/10

The Writers in Prison Committee of International PEN (WiPC) protests the murder of José Alberto Velázquez López, editor of Expresiones de Tulum, who was shot dead in Cancún, Quintana Roo state, on 22 December 2009. The newspaper had been subject to attack, including death threats, in the previous few months and it is thought that Velázquez' murder may have been connected to his criticism of local authorities. He was the seventh print journalist to be killed in Mexico in 2009 and the 27th since 2004. The WiPC calls on the federal and state authorities to investigate this latest killing, along with all other unsolved journalist murders, as a matter of the utmost urgency, and to bring the culprits to justice. It also calls for the implementation of effective journalist protection programmes.

José Alberto Velázquez López, editor and owner of the daily newspaper Expresiones de Tulum, based in Tulum, Quintana Roo state, and a contributor to a local television station, was shot dead in Cancún on 22 December 2009. Velázquez was driving home after a Christmas party for the newspaper staff when he was followed by two men on a motorbike who shot him in the chest, leaving him with serious wounds. He was taken to hospital but died late that night.

The newspaper staff had reportedly received several anonymous telephone death threats in the previous few months and its printing press was also firebombed in November 2009. Velázquez, who was also a lawyer, had reportedly written a number of articles accusing the mayor of Tulum of corruption, poor administration and a lack of regard for the public but had stopped reporting on local politics after receiving the death threats, which allegedly included a threatening phone call from the mayor. The mayor and Velázquez had reportedly been enemies since April 2009, the month that the newspaper was set up and that the mayor came into office.

State prosecutors in Quintana Roo have opened an inquiry into the murder. They are reportedly looking at two possible motives: Velázquez' work as a lawyer or that it was a crime of passion. However, his colleagues at Expresiones de Tulum have reportedly dismissed these leads, suggesting that the murder is instead likely to have been related to the editor's criticism of the mayor. Police investigations into the November 2009 firebombing of the newspaper premises have yet to yield any results.

Velázquez reportedly leaves behind a heavily pregnant wife and a five-year-old son.

Background
Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world to work as a journalist. From January 2004 to December 2009, a total of 27 writers - 26 print journalists and one author - were murdered, seven of them in 2009 alone. Five more print journalists have disappeared in the same period. Few if any of these crimes have been properly investigated or punished. International PEN believes that it is likely that these journalists were targeted in retaliation for their critical reporting, particularly on drug trafficking. While organised crime groups are responsible for many attacks, state agents, especially government officials and the police, are reportedly the main perpetrators of violence against journalists, and complicit in its continuance. For more information, click here.

Useful links


Please send appeals:

  • Protesting the murder of newspaper editor and lawyer José Alberto Velázquez López, in Cancun, Quintana Roo state, on 22 December 2009;
  • Calling for a full, prompt and impartial investigation into Velázquez' death and all other unsolved murders of journalists in Mexico;
  • Given Velázquez' critical reporting on local authorities, it is essential that federal authorities cooperate with their counterparts in Quintana Roo state to ensure that the investigation into his murder is properly carried out;
  • Calling on the government of President Felipe Calderón to fulfil promises to make crimes against journalists a federal offence, specifically by amending the Constitution so that federal authorities have the power to investigate, prosecute and punish such crimes.
  • Calling on the federal authorities to set up protection programmes for journalist to ensure their safety

Appeals to:

President
Lic. Felipe De Jesús Calderón Hinojosa
Presidente de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos
Residencia Oficial de los Pinos Casa Miguel Alemán
Col. San Miguel Chapultepec, C.P. 11850, DISTRITO FEDERAL, México
Fax: (+ 52 55) 5093 4901/ 5277 2376
Email: felipe.calderon@presidencia.gob.mx
Salutation: Señor Presidente/ Dear Mr President

Attorney General
Lic. Arturo Chávez Chávez
Procurador General de la República
Av. Paseo de Reforma No. 211-213, Piso 16
Col. Cuauhtémoc, Defegacion Cuauhtémoc
México D.F. C.P. 06500
Tel: + 52 55 5346 0108
Fax: + 52 55 53 46 0908 (if a voice answers, ask "tono de fax, por favor")
E-mail: ofproc@pgr.gob.mx
Salutation: Señor Procurador General/Dear Attorney General

Please also send copies of your appeals to the Mexican Embassy in your country.
See http://www.sre.gob.mx/acerca/directorio/embajadas/dirembajadas.htm

***Please send appeals immediately. Check with International PEN if sending appeals after 5 March 2010.***

For further details please contact Tamsin Mitchell at the Writers in Prison Committee London Office: International PEN, Brownlow House, 50-51 High Holborn, London WC1V 6ER Tel: +44 (0) 207 405 0338 Fax +44 (0) 207 405 0339 email: tamsin.mitchell@internationalpen.org.uk


http://www.internationalpen.org.uk/go/news/mexico-newspaper-editor-shot-dead

MEXICO: Another print journalist abducted and murdered

MEXICO: Another print journalist abducted and murdered


12 January 2010

RAN 03/10

The Writers in Prison Committee of International PEN (WiPC) is shocked and saddened by the murder of Zócalo de Saltillo journalist Valentín Valdés Espinosa, who was abducted on 7 January 2010 and found dead the next day in Saltillo, Coahuila state. He had reportedly been tortured before being shot dead. Valdés is the second print journalist to be murdered in Mexico in as many weeks and the 28th since 2004. The WiPC calls on the federal and state authorities to investigate this latest killing, along with all other unsolved journalist murders, as a matter of the utmost urgency, and to bring the culprits to justice. It also calls for the implementation of effective journalist protection programmes.

MEXICO - Valentín Valdés Espinosa (Zócalo de Saltillo)Valentín Valdés Espinosa, co-founder of and journalist for the daily newspaper Zócalo de Saltillo, reportedly left the newspaper offices with two colleagues late on the night of 7 January 2010. In the centre of Saltillo, their car was intercepted by a group of men who forced Valdés and another, unnamed Zócalo reporter into a vehicle and drove away.

According to the Coahuila state attorney general's office, Valdés was found dead in front of a hotel in Saltillo early on the morning of 8 January. He had reportedly been tortured and shot several times. On his corpse a message was found that read: "This is going to happen to those who don't understand. The message is for everyone."

The attorney general's office has stated that the murder was carried out by organized crime. Valdés covered local news, including crime, for Zócalo de Saltillo. In July 2006, another journalist from the same newspaper chain, Rafael Ortiz Martínez, reportedly disappeared in Monclova, Coahuila, and has not been seen since.

The national news magazine Proceso has reported that the other reporter who was abducted along with Valdés was later released, but this has not been confirmed by either the newspaper or the attorney general's office. According to the newspaper, the third reporter who was with Valdés was not abducted.

Background
Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world to work as a journalist. From January 2004 to December 2009, a total of 27 writers - 26 print journalists and one author - were murdered, seven of them in 2009 alone. Five more print journalists have disappeared in the same period. Few if any of these crimes have been properly investigated or punished. International PEN believes that it is likely that these journalists were targeted in retaliation for their critical reporting, particularly on drug trafficking. While organised crime groups are responsible for many attacks, state agents, especially government officials and the police, are reportedly the main perpetrators of violence against journalists, and complicit in its continuance. For more information, click here.

Useful links

Please send appeals:

  • Protesting the murder of Zócalo de Saltillo journalist Valentín Valdés Espinosa, who was abducted on 7 January 2010 and found dead the next day in Saltillo, Coahuila state
  • Calling for a full, prompt and impartial investigation into Valdés' death and all other unsolved murders of journalists in Mexico;
  • Calling on the government of President Felipe Calderón to fulfil promises to make crimes against journalists a federal offence, specifically by amending the Constitution so that federal authorities have the power to investigate, prosecute and punish such crimes;
  • Calling on the federal authorities to set up protection programmes for journalists to ensure their safety

Appeals to:

President
Lic. Felipe De Jesús Calderón Hinojosa
Presidente de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos
Residencia Oficial de los Pinos Casa Miguel Alemán
Col. San Miguel Chapultepec, C.P. 11850, DISTRITO FEDERAL, México
Fax: (+ 52 55) 5093 4901/ 5277 2376
Email: felipe.calderon@presidencia.gob.mx
Salutation: Señor Presidente/ Dear Mr President

Attorney General
Lic. Arturo Chávez Chávez
Procurador General de la República
Av. Paseo de Reforma No. 211-213, Piso 16
Col. Cuauhtémoc, Defegacion Cuauhtémoc
México D.F. C.P. 06500
Tel: + 52 55 5346 0108
Fax: + 52 55 53 46 0908 (if a voice answers, ask "tono de fax, por favor")
E-mail: ofproc@pgr.gob.mx
Salutation: Señor Procurador General/Dear Attorney General

Please also send copies of your appeals to the Mexican Embassy in your country.
See http://www.sre.gob.mx/acerca/directorio/embajadas/dirembajadas.htm

***Please send appeals immediately. Check with International PEN if sending appeals after 12 March 2010.***

For further details please contact Tamsin Mitchell at the Writers in Prison Committee London Office: International PEN, Brownlow House, 50-51 High Holborn, London WC1V 6ER Tel: +44 (0) 207 405 0338 Fax +44 (0) 207 405 0339 email: tamsin.mitchell@internationalpen.org.uk



http://www.internationalpen.org.uk/go/news/mexico-another-print-journalist-abducted-and-murdered

International PEN mourns the loss of Georges Anglade

International PEN mourns the loss of Georges Anglade


14 January 2010

Dear Friends,


I have just learnt that Georges Anglade and his wife Mireille Neptune have been killed in the earth quake in Haiti.

Georges was the founding President of PEN Haïti and a member of the Board of Quebec-PEN, a wonderful writer, a courageous man who had stood up to the enemies of free expression. He had an amazing spirit and enthusiasm which drove him to continue to stand up and speak out for literature and freedom. He was a force of nature. Perhaps that is why I find it difficult to accept that he is now gone. He was a good friend to many of you and I personally felt him as a dear friend, the kind of friend you could always count on.

I will miss him as I know you will.


John Ralston Saul
President

Click here to read John Ralston Saul's tribute to Georges Anglade in the Globe and Mail

Dear Friends,

It is with great sadness that we write to inform you that Georges Anglade and his wife Mireille Neptune, have been killed in the earth quake in Haiti.

We are awaiting news of the other members of Haitian PEN and will of course ensure that we keep you up dated.

In the only too short time we had to get to know Georges and Mireille, they had become an essential part of our PEN family. Georges' strength and leadership in establishing a PEN Centre in Haiti was an inspiration to us all and his warmth and generosity made him a great friend.

We will be discussing ways of celebrating their lives and work and would welcome thoughts from you as to how best to do so. If you would like to send us your own personal memories of Georges to post on the International PEN website we would be pleased to do so.

With our warmest wishes at this sad time,

John Ralston Saul
President

Eugene Schoulgin
International Secretary

Caroline McCormick
Executive Director

Click on the link to read a Biography of Georges Anglade

Click below to read more messages of condolence from the International PEN community

Messages of condolence from the International PEN community


We have received messages from PEN members in Haiti.

Kettly Mars of Haiti PEN has written "Our situation is serious and we urgently need aid. Medicine, water, food. International aid is starting to come but there will never be enough. Thank you for relaying this."

Please find below links to the Haiti Appeal of the International Red Cross and Oxfam, or contact the relevant aid agency in your country.

International Committee of the Red Cross
www.icrc.org

Oxfam
www.oxfam.org


http://www.internationalpen.org.uk/go/news/international-pen-mourns-the-loss-of-georges-anglade