Salman Rushdie to share PEN Pinter prize with Mazen Darwish

The author publicises plight of imprisoned Syrian activist by sharing the PEN Pinter award for international writer of courage: The Guardian

The activist Mazen Darwish
Fighting for ‘civilised values’ … the activist Mazen Darwish.

Salman Rushdie hopes to “shin[e] a light on [the] plight” of the imprisoned Syrian human rights activist Mazen Darwish by sharing his PEN Pinter prize with the journalist and lawyer.

Darwish, founding president of the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM), a 10-year-old organisation that has documented the human rights abuses in Syria since 2011, was arrested on 16 February 2012, according to English PEN. In March this year, he was charged with “publicising terrorist acts”. If he is convicted, he could go to prison for up to 15 years.

The writer Salman Rushdie
Taking a personal interest … the writer Salman Rushdie. Photograph: Murdo MacLeod/Murdo MacLeod

“Darwish courageously fought for civilised values – free expression, human rights – in one of the most dangerous places in the world,” said Rushdie. “His continued detention is arbitrary and unjust. He should be freed immediately, and we must hope this award may help, by shining a light on his plight.”

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