The PEN American Center has taken up the cause of Jean Ziegler, the Swiss author and university professor who faces treason charges in his own country for having exposed the role of Swiss banks in handling Nazi gold and failing to restore deposited funds to heirs of Jews who died in concentration camps. After publishing The Swiss, The Gold, and the Dead (Harcourt Brace) and testifying before the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, Ziegler was the subject of a complaint filed by a group of Swiss bankers and politicians who demanded that he be indicted for giving comfort to external enemies. Instead of dismissing the complaint out of hand, Switzerland's federal prosecutor asked the Swiss legislature to lift Ziegler's parliamentary immunity so that he can be prosecuted.

In a firm letter to Swiss president Flavio Cotti, signed by Anthony Appiah, chair of American PEN's Freedom to Write Committee; Diana Ayrton-Shenker, director of the Freedom to Write Program; and PEN American Center executive director Michael Roberts, the organization characterized the pending indictment as "a clear violation of a writer's free expression as protected by international human rights law." Citing article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the PEN protest affirms that Professor Ziegler "is guilty of nothing other than the peaceful expression of his views," and urges personal intervention by the Swiss president to ensure that all charges are dropped.