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Fellow poets protest Saudi death sentence facing Ashraf Fayadh

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Carol Ann Duffy, Paul Muldoon and Adonis among writers signing PEN letter calling on Saudi courts to free Palestinian poet convicted of apostasy, and to allow freedom of expression

Poets from around the world are lining up in solidarity with the Palestinian poet Ashraf Fayadh, with the Syrian poet Adonis, Ireland’s Paul Muldoon and Britain’s poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy among the signatories to a letter laying out how “appalled” they are at the death sentence he has been handed by Saudi Arabian authorities.

Fayadh was sentenced to death last week for renouncing Islam, a charge which he denies. Evidence used against him included poems from his collection Instructions Within, which is banned in Saudi Arabia, as well as his posts on Twitter, and a conversation he had in a coffee shop in Abha which was said to be blasphemous. He was given 30 days to appeal the sentence.

Related: Cultural figures and rights groups call for release of poet facing execution

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