1 December 2022News in Brief

We’ve missed Peace Prisoners’ Day, 1 December, but if you’d like to write to someone imprisoned for their work for peace or a conscientious objector jailed for refusing to take up arms, War Resisters’ International (WRI) does have a long list of people you could write to.

This year, WRI is concentrating on activists in Russia and Ukraine – not just people in prison, but also people who’ve been fined or who’re facing sentencing.

The list of Russian peace activists is taken from…

1 October 2022Review

Ban the bomb!: Ibidem, 2021; 290pp; £26  Rebel verdict: Irene, 2022; 512pp; £25.50 from or £22.50 (+ p&p if ordering) from Housmans bookshop:

Among the first books I read when I got involved in the peace movement in the late 1990s, three were by Michael Randle: Civil resistance (on the history, theory and practice of nonviolence), How to defend yourself in court (a useful instructional) and The Blake Escape (co-authored with Pat Pottle, their thrilling account of how and why they helped to break superspy George Blake out of Wormwood Scrubs prison and smuggle him out of the country).

Unhappily all…

1 December 2021News in Brief

On 1 December every year, War Resisters’ International (WRI) provides the names and addresses of people imprisoned for their nonviolent work for peace and justice. Most of the prisoners on the list in 2021 are Jehovah’s Witnesses (who refuse military service).

In 2019, WRI started featuring the details of campaigners from Ambazonia, the English-speaking territory within Cameroon.

The French-speaking authorities in Cameroon have been trying to take away the autonomy of Ambazonia…

1 December 2020Blog

Write to people imprisoned because of their actions for peace

1 December is Prisoners for Peace Day. For over 60 years, War Resisters’ International have publicised the names and stories – and prison addresses – of those imprisoned because of their actions for peace. This is a chance to write to someone whose freedom has been taken away because of their work for peace.

We can find the prison address for Julian Assange here – please do write to him as he is waiting for the verdict in…

1 December 2019News in Brief

Mark Ovland (36) was arrested during the XR actions in London in April, and again in October. He was one of those arrested for standing on a Tube train at Canning Town.

He refused bail, so Mark is being held at least until 16 December when he appears at the Inner London crown court for a different trial. You can write to Mark (your email will be passed on):

1 December 2019News

Doctors fear for Assange's health

1 December is Prisoners for Peace Day, when activists are encouraged to write to people imprisoned around the world for refusing to fight or for campaigning against war.

This year, we have highlighted the imprisonment of US military whistleblower Chelsea Manning and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

At risk

As we went to press, there were reports that Julian Assange’s health was deteriorating rapidly.

More than 60 doctors wrote an open letter expressing their fear…

1 October 2019Comment

Bruce Kent reflects on prisons, peace and justice for all

I must have passed through Reading station dozens of times in recent years on my way to Wales or the West Country. It always gives me a twinge when the train comes into the station from London.

Once one could see clearly the large red brick lump of Reading Gaol. Why a twinge? Because I always remember that it was the place of Oscar Wilde’s incarceration. The Ballad of Reading Gaol goes on for many verses but the first is quite enough to move me:

I know not…

1 April 2019Feature

Chelsea Manning reimprisoned

Photo: Manolo Luna [CC BY-SA 4.0 (]

Chelsea Manning, who bravely exposed atrocities committed by the US military, is again imprisoned in a US jail. On International Women’s Day, 8 March, she was incarcerated in the Alexandria, Virginia, federal detention centre for refusing to testify in front of a secretive grand jury. [In the US system of law, grand juries decide (in secret)…

1 June 2018News in Brief

‘June 11’ is the name of a US-based anarchist support group for long-term political prisoners around the world. Most of them have been imprisoned for violent crimes. While PN readers are likely to strongly disagree with their methods, this is an opportunity to offer comfort and solidarity to people in very difficult conditions.

If you do write, it’s suggested that you write about your day-to-day life, and what you are passionate about, and put your address on both the envelope and…

1 December 2017News in Brief

1 December is Prisoners for Peace Day. Please consider writing a cheerful, non-hero-worship postcard to someone on the WRI list:

For example, a South Korean conscientious objector who was jailed in July and who will be freed on 30 September 2018:
Park Sang-wook #1315, Gosan-dong, Uijeongbu-si, Gyeonggi-do, 11797, Republic of Korea.

1 June 2017News

PN & friends celebrate release of US whistleblower

PHOTO: Emma Sangster

The Peace News/Housmans Bookshop ‘Chelsea Manning Freedom Party’ had people crowding into the bookshop on 17 May to eat cake and hear trans women Kirsten and Mika; Ben Griffin of Veterans for Peace; and others.

1 June 2017News

Prosecution part of sustained attack on human rights group

On 17 May, a British Muslim human rights campaigner was charged with a terrorism offence for refusing to give police the passwords to his laptop and his mobile phone.

Muhammad Rabbani, international director of the London-based human rights group CAGE, was detained and questioned at Heathrow airport in November under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

He refused to surrender his passwords on the grounds that his devices contained confidential testimony relating to torture.…

1 December 2016News in Brief

Please send a card (in an envelope) for 1 December Peace Prisoners Day! Please do include a return name and address on the envelope. Also: avoid writing anything that might get the prisoner into trouble.

You could write to Chelsea E Manning 89289, 1300 North Warehouse Road, Fort Leavenworth Kansas 66027-2304, USA.

War Resisters International have lots of addresses: 020 7278 4040;

1 October 2016News in Brief

On 13 September, military whistle-blower Chelsea Manning finally won the right to be given gender reassignment therapy, five days after she started a hunger strike. This will be the first time a trans prisoner in the US has received this treatment.

Chase Strangio, Chelsea’s attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union, commented: ‘This medical care is absolutely vital for Chelsea. It was the government’s refusal to provide her with necessary care that led her to attempt suicide…

1 October 2016News in Brief

The US bureau of prisons will end the use of private prisons over the next five years, the US justice department announced on 18 August.

The change comes after the racism of the criminal justice system has been pushed to near the top of the political agenda by the Black Lives Matter movement; after powerful investigative reporting by the Nation and other journals; and after a damning 11 August report by the inspector general of the justice department, which found that ‘in most key…