Sunday 18 August
The Imprisoned Writers Series at the Edinburgh International Book Festival
Since 1997, Amnesty International in Scotland has shared the voices of writers whose human rights have been compromised - because they have been imprisoned, exiled or executed for exercising their freedom of expression; because they face challenges in practicing their rights in their daily lives; or because they live in a country where their rights are oppressed.
These events, known as the Imprisoned Writers Series, seek to challenge, move and inspire by sharing writing by those whose freedom of expression is threatened or denied. Each day we are joined by four of the visiting authors who graciously volunteer their time to read the words of writers who cannot be at the Festival.
The Imprisoned Writers Series exists to amplify voices – both voices that cannot be heard because their right to speak has been taken away, and also those voices that we may find uncomfortable to hear. Not all of our authors have experienced detention, but they have all had their rights challenged, and have all fought to claim their rights.
Today’s event has been curated by our friends at Freedom from Torture.
Freedom from Torture is the only UK-based human rights organisation dedicated to the treatment and rehabilitation of torture survivors. It was set up by Helen Bamber of Amnesty International to offer direct services to survivors of torture.
The readings today are written by participants in the Freedom from Torture Write to Life creative writing group. The group supports current and former Freedom from Torture clients to tell stories in different art forms. They are the longest-running refugee-writing group in Britain, and the only one specifically for survivors of torture.
The selection today considers how having found safety in asylum, life is often far from perfect for victims of torture and other human rights abuses.
Baban is a writer from Iraq and member of Write for Life for four years. He has contributed two pieces to today’s event – a prose piece and a poem.
Marsha Glenn is a Bangladeshi journalist living in the UK since 2012. Due to her family’s political involvement, she has been detained and tortured by the Bangladesh government. She is a member of The Refugee Journalism Project and an ambassador for the UK charity Breaking Barriers.
Our third writer has chosen to remain Anonymous.
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.