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Human Rights Watch Awards Grants to Censored Writers


Human Rights Watch has awarded grants to 45 writers - many of them from Asia and the Middle East - who the group says were targets of political persecution.

The New York-based rights group said the Hellman-Hammett Grants are awarded to help writers confront and survive persecution.

The awards were presented to writers from 22 countries, with more than half coming from China, Vietnam, and Iran.

The group said this year's winners were harassed, assaulted, indicted or jailed by their governments for providing information from non-governmental sources. It says many of them were also forced to practice self-censorship.

Human Rights Watch says some writers asked to remain anonymous because of possible danger to them and their families.

The grant program began in 1989, when American playwright Lillian Hellman willed that her estate be used to give financial help to persecuted journalists.

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