Crime in Ramallah
Artist: Abbad Yahya
Date of Action: February 2017
Region: Middle East
Confronting Bodies: Palestinian Attorney General
Description of Artwork: The novel is about the lives of three young men, one of whom is gay, who are involved in a woman's murder in the city of Ramallah. The books inclusion of sex, masturbation and homosexuality were highly controversial.
The Incident: The Palestinian Attorney General banned the book and prosecuted the author over an alleged threat to morality and public decency, calling the book a "gross violation of his right to freedom of expression."
Results of Incident: Abbad Yahya remained in Qatar following the confiscation of his book as he feared that he would be arrested if he returned home. English PEN released a statement supporting the author, pointing out the problematic censoring actions of the Palestinian government. In addition to this statement, The department of culture and information of the Palestine Liberation Organization also condemned the actions of the Attorney General's office, saying that it "opens the door for an endless censorship, which violates freedom of expression and right to creative writing."