MARCH 2023 newsletter

Dear PEN Perth Members and Friends,

PEN Perth has been following ‘curious case of Hany Babu’ over the last couple of years. Globally, PEN International has advocated strongly for this former Delhi University Linguist. Some of you were able to join us for the video conference with Dr Babu’s wife Dr Jenny Rowena at our last AGM. 

Hany had been very ill and had developed early cataract due to a variety of untreated ailments (including COVID) contracted while in prison. In January, the Bombay High Court allowed him a brief period of bail to have his cataract removed at a hospital of his choice. We understand from his wife, that while he is back in detention, his health and especially his sight have improved substantially.

Please send messages of solidarity to Hany at:

Hany Babu Musaliyarveettil Tharayil
UT No MB490
Circle 4, Barrack 5
Taloja Central Prison
Kharghar PO
Navi Mumbai
Maharashtra 410210

As always, we are grateful to our members for their continued support. And of course, we would love to see more of you become members and join the small committee of volunteers who keep the work of the organization going.

I will be away for the next three months. Caroline Wood will be Acting Chair in my absence. 

Krishna Sen (Chair of PEN Perth)

PEN Case list 2022 launch

PEN International launches Impunity Reigns – Writers Resist, its 2022 Case List which documents 115 cases of writers facing harassment, arrest, violence and even death, worldwide. 

‘The writers featured in this report have put their lives on the frontline and made enormous sacrifices – risking their safety and liberty – to hold the powerful to account. They have inspired us to keep fighting to safeguard the right to freedom of expression. They have dared us to visualize a different world, a better one. They have empowered us and new generations of writers and readers, as we reflect on the past 101 years of our work, to protect writers globally and consider how our voices and actions have the power to shape a future where human rights are a reality for all’. Ma Thida, Chair of PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee.

For more information, see this page on the PEN International website.

To watch the online launch event, see here.

Writers in focus

This month, our wonderful intern Amer Saleh has selected some imprisoned writers to draw our attention.

Pham Doan Trang

An independent Journalist and human rights defender that was detained and sentenced to 9 years imprisonment in December 2021 on the basis of ‘propaganda charges’ and “making, storing, distributing or disseminating information, documents and items against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.” She is an author of multiple books that embrace and involve issues regarding LGBTQI, activism including women’s rights, environmental causes and land rights. She was awarded a Press Freedom Prize in 2019 by Reporters Without borders in allegiance and recognition for her work. Trang stood up for detained activist and criticised man-made environmental disasters and land garbs. She exposed human rights violations and supported political prisoners and their families, making her public enemy to Vietnamese government who intend to repress such activism.

Last known prison: A Phuoc detention centre, Binh Duong province
Concerns: Denial of legal representation, medical treatment or supplies and denial of family visit.
Contacts: Vietnam consulate in East Perth,
Phone: +61 8922 111 58
Hotline: +61 4345 205 36
Website: https://vnconsulate-perth.mofa/

Hanoi supreme court,
Address: 48 Ly Thuong Kiet Street, Hoan Kiem District, Ha Noi
Phone: (+84)2462741133

Office of the Prime Minister, 1 Hoang Hoa Tham street, Ba Dinh district, Hanoi, Vietnam. Email:
Social Media:

Niloofar Hamedi and Elahe Mohammadi

Hamedi and Mohammadi are journalists who have been held for over 100 days on allegations of espionage for reporting the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini; a death that shocked the world. The unmerciful death of Amini was due to the improperly wearing of her head scarf by the ‘morality police’. Her untimely death caused a political uproar in the streets of Iran. Hamedi photographed a picture of Amini’s parents hugging in the hospital corridors, reporting on the condition of Amini being fragile, as she was on life support in a Tehran hospital. This received worldwide media attention and condemnation. Mohammadi works for the daily newspaper Ham-Mihan and was arrested after reporting from Amini’s funeral. Another example of the criminalisation of the work of journalists when advocating for the freedom of women in their country to dress how they want without the dear of brutal police brutality and murder.

Leader of the Islamic Republic
Grand Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei
The Office of the Supreme Leader Islamic Republic Street
End of Shahid Keshvar Doust Street, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran Email:…
Twitter: @khamenei_ir (English-language account), @Khamenei_ar
(Arabic-language), @Khamenei_es (Spanish-language account).

Head of the Judiciary
Ebrahim Raisi c/o Public Relations Office
Number 4, Deadend of 1 Azizi – Vali Asr Street Tehran,
Islamic Republic of Iran

President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Hassan Rouhani Pasteur Street
Pasteur Square Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: @HassanRouhani (English) and @Rouhani_ir (Persian)

Maria Ponomarenko

Russian Journalist Maria Ponomarenko has been arrested and jailed for six years for posting on social media regarding the attack on a theatre in Ukraine by Russia warplanes after Russian defence ministry denied striking a bombing. She was found guilty but a court in Barnaul in Siberia for allegedly speaking “fake news.” This is under the laws recently introduced to oppressively mute and dismantle the dissent on the Ukraine invasion. This is a clear depiction of Russia government and military silencing journalists such as Ponomarenko for illustrating the war in Ukraine and holding Russian troops accountable for their part in it.
The mother of two, has reported to suffer mental health problems in jail according to her lawyer, comparing her pre-trial detention conditions as torture.

Contact: Phone: +61(2) 6295 9474
Fax: +61(2) 6295 1001
Email: or
Location: Canberra Avenue, Griffith, ACT 2603

Current Chief Justice Vyachelsav Lebedev
Twitter: @RusEmbJakarta

One year into the Ukraine-Russia war

Our intern Amer Saleh also produced a reflection on the Ukraine-Russia war this month during which organisations around the world reflect on its anniversary. Scroll through Amer’s fantastic report below:

PEN Perth meets English PEN

PEN Perth’s treasurer (Frances An) visited our English PEN friends during her stay in London. Thank you to English PEN director Daniel Gorman for the lovely gift – PEN Pinter lectures pictured above – and Ross Holder (Head of Asia/Pacific region at PEN International) for introducing us.

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