Journalists, novelists and Internet writers from 17 countries received Hellman/Hammett grants in recognition of their courage in the face of political persecution.

The Hellman/Hammett grants are given annually to writers around the world who have been targets of political persecution. The grant program began in 1989 when the U.S. playwright Lillian Hellman willed that her estate be used to assist writers in financial need as a result of expressing their views. Ms. Hellman was prompted by her experiences during the anti-communist hysteria of the 1950s, when she and her longtime companion, the writer Dashiell Hammett, were questioned by U.S. Congressional committees about their political beliefs and affiliations.

The writers honored this year have been harassed, assaulted, indicted, jailed on trumped up charges, or tortured merely for providing information from nongovernmental sources. In addition to those who are directly targeted, many others are forced to practice self-censorship.

Some of this year's recipients have asked to remain anonymous because of possible continuing danger to them and their families. The recipients who can safely receive publicity include:

Americas:

Hollman Morris (Colombia), investigative journalist.

Pierre Elisem (Haiti), radio journalist

Africa:

Kum Margaret (Cameroon), freelance journalist

Tewodros Kassa (Ethiopia), newspaper editor

Isioma Daniel (Nigeria), newspaper journalist

Ismail Mbonigaba (Rwanda), journalist and newspaper editor

Europe:

Yuri Bagrov (Russia), reporter

Middle East and North Africa:

Assurbanipal Babilla (Iran), playwright and painter

Ali-Reza Jabari (Iran), academic editor, a poet, and a social historian

Omid Memarian (Iran), journalist and Internet writer

Sina Mottalebi (Iran), journalist and Internet writer

Taqi Rahmani (Iran), author of 26 books and monographs

Ali Lmrabet (Morocco), journalist and newspaper editor

Maha Hassan (Syria), novelist and essayist

Abdallah Zouari (Tunisia), writer and high school teacher

Asia:

Saleem Samad (Bangladesh), journalist

Bao Zunxin (China), editor-in-chief of several journals

Guo Qinghai (China), political and economic essayist

Yu Shicun (China), poet, essayist and teacher

Ameera Javeria (Pakistan), journalist

For detailed information on each award winner, see https://www.hrw.org/english/docs/2005/07/19/global11332.htm.

In the 15 previous years of the Hellman/Hammett grant program, more than 500 writers received grants totaling more than $2.5 million. The Hellman/Hammett program also makes small emergency grants throughout the year to writers who have an urgent need to leave their country or who need immediate medical treatment after serving prison terms or enduring torture.