World Poetry Day: take action for imprisoned poet Ashraf Fayadh

Last month, on 2 February 2016, English PEN welcomed the news that the death sentence handed down to poet and artist Ashraf Fayadh had been overturned. We were nevertheless extremely disappointed to learn that the court had ordered a harsh new sentence of eights years and 800 lashes.

In the run-up to World Poetry Day on 21 March, English PEN and our sister centres around the world are continuing to call for Ashraf Fayadh’s immediate and unconditional release. Please join us by taking one of the actions suggested below.

English PEN will be continuing to campaign for Ashraf Fayadh throughout 2016, or until his release from prison, through our regular vigils at the Saudi Embassy in London. Ashraf is also among the international writers to be featured at the inaugural English PEN Modern Literature Festival in April 2016, for which he has been paired with poet and Guardian first book ward-winner Andrew McMillan. His poetry will also be performed at the Ledbury Poetry Festival in July 2016 as part of our annual Poetry as Protest Initiative.

For further background information, visit the PEN International website.


  • Show your support for Ashraf Fayadh by sending messages, poetry or artwork via the dedicated website
  • Share details of his case and examples of his writing with friends and colleagues and on social media. #FreeAshraf
  • Write to the Saudi authorities calling for his immediate and unconditional release – more details below.

Please send appeals:

  • Welcoming the commutation of the death sentence imposed on Palestinian poet and artist Ashraf Fayadh;
  • Urging the government to immediately commute his sentence of 800 lashes, as it violates the absolute prohibition in international law against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;
  • Calling on the authorities to release Ashraf Fayadh immediately and unconditionally, as he is held solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression;
  • Calling on Saudi Arabia to ratify, without reservation, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Send appeals to:

His Majesty
King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud
The Custodian of the two Holy Mosques
Office of His Majesty the King
Royal Court, Riyadh
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Fax: (via Ministry of the Interior) +966 1 403 3125
Salutation: Your Majesty
Crown Prince and Minister of the Interior
His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Naif bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud
Ministry of the Interior
P.O.Box 2933, Airport Road,
Riyadh 11134
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Fax: +966 1 403 3125
Salutation: Your Royal Highness
Minister of Justice
His Excellency Shaykh Dr Mohammed bin Abdulkareem Al-Issa
Ministry of Justice,
University Street
Riyadh 11137 Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Fax: + 966 1 401 1741 + 966 11 402 0311
Salutation: Your Excellency 

It is recommended that you send a copy of your appeals via the diplomatic representative for Saudi Arabia in your country. Contact details for embassies can be found here.

About Cat Lucas

Cat Lucas is English PEN's Writers at Risk Programme Manager

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