Freedom of writing is important. Many writers and poets have been imprisoned for supporting radical political views in their work or writing about topics that are considered taboo in a country. Here are five authors you might not know, who have been imprisoned for their works:
List of Writers and Authors Who Went To Jail For Their Writings:
Ahmed Naji is an Egyptian writer of ‘Using Life’ which is a novel filled with unfiltered portrayal of sex, drugs and loose living, but, it also explores Egyptian pop-culture and anti-authoritarian sentiment set in the dawn of the 2011 Egyptian revolution. The book got international praise. However, an Egyptian citizen filed a complaint accusing Naji of violating public morals in his book and in 2015 Naji was sentenced to two years in jail. He was released after 10 months but was banned to travel due to pending retrial. During the retrial, the court overturned his conviction and sentenced him to pay a fine. After being free, Ahmed Naji moved to United States with his wife.
Nurmhemmet Yasin is a writer from China. He was arrested by the Chinese authorities on charges of inciting separatism because of his short story ‘Wild Pigeon’. Wild Pigeon is a story of a pigeon king’s son who is caught by humans during his journey to find his people a new home. When the pigeon is caught he decides to end his life by eating a poisoned strawberry instead of being enslaved. Yasin was sentenced to 10 years in jail after a closed trial and he was denied a lawyer. There are reports that say that he has passed away in Shaya Prison because a severe illness in 2011. The editor who published ‘Wild Pigeon’ was sentenced to three years in prison.
As an author Alexander Radischev in 1790, self-published a book ‘Journey From Petersburg To Moscow’ which was a study of Russia’s social and political problems in the form of a guide book. It is said that the book was openly criticised Catherine the Great, who was the Russian Empress at that time. Radischev was first imprisoned and then sentenced to death. However, Catherine the Great, herself commuted his sentence to ten years in exile in Siberia. After the empress’s death, Radischev was allowed to live on his family estate.
Liu was a literary critic, human rights activist and writer from China. In 2008, he help write Charter 08, which is a citizen manifesto of nineteen demands for the Chinese government, which includes the freedom of association, assembly, and expression. Due to his long history of protest for human rights, Liu received numerous awards from the international community including a Nobel Peace Laureate, but it cost him multiple stays in jail. Liu’s arrest in 2009 was his last. Due to late-stage liver cancer and harsh prison conditions he died after eight years into his 11 year sentence.
Faraj Ahmad Birqdar
Poet Faraj Ahmad Birqdar from Syria has been held up in jail twice before his final arrest, both times because of his work in the literary journal he and his friends had created. His third arrest was in 1987 when he was imprisoned for three years. For seven years he was in jail awaiting the trial. In 1993, he was finally put on trial and sentenced to fifteen years in prison under the charges of joining an unauthorized political party. Birqdar wrote his most famous poetry collection,’ A Dove with Wings Outspread’ in prison. Writing sustained him in his years in prison. He was released in 2000 . He later moved to Sweden.