It appears that author ZP Dala has been taken to a mental institution in reprisal for her comments about Salman Rushdie during the Time of the Writer Festival in Durban recently.
Rushdie himself responded on Twitter at the time, coming out in support of Dala.
Now, according to PEN America, the shocking news has come about that Dala has been put under “extreme pressure” by members of the Muslim community in Durban to “renounce her statement about Rushdie’s work” and “to make a public vow of religious loyalty to Islam”.
When she refused, she was apparently admitted to a mental institution.
PEN America has called for Dala’s “immediate and unconditional release” and has also called on President Jacob Zuma and the South African Authorities to “ensure Ms Dala’s safety and to prevent reprisals against her freedom of expression and thought”.
PEN America executive director Suzanne Nossel, who was visiting South Africa and had contact with Dala, says in a statement: “Harassment, efforts to elicit forced and false confessions, and the denial of liberty are gross infringements of freedom of expression. In expressing her views on Mr Rushdie’s work Ms Dala was engaging in intellectual discourse, an essential lifeblood of any free society.
“It is up to South African authorities and all those in positions of leadership to vindicate her rights and freedoms and take action against those who have sought to deny them.”
Books LIVE is attempting to get in touch with Dala to corroborate the story.
Rushdie, Neil Gaiman, PEN South Africa president Margie Orford, and others have expressed outrage on Twitter