Iranian designer and cartoonist Atena Farghadani could face years in prison for having drawn an image depicting members of the Iranian parliament as monkeys and cows. On 19 May 2015, she was convicted to 12 years imprisonment (some sources say 14 years). She has appealed the verdict. Cartoonists around the world have been drawing in solidarity.
Ahead of the Atena Farghadani’s trial, Amnesty International campaigners gathered outside the Iranian consulate in London on 18 May 2015. Demonstrators called for the immediate release of Farghadani, and presented a petition with more than 33,000 signatures.
According to Amnesty International, 28-year-old Atena Farghadani was first arrested on 23 August 2014 for her peaceful activities, including meeting with families of political prisoners, and for drawing a cartoon that criticised members of parliament for considering a bill that sought to criminalise voluntary sterilisation as part of a larger plan to restrict access to contraception and family planning services.
Atena Farghadani was held in Section 2A of Evin Prison for almost two months, including 15 days in solitary confinement, without access to a lawyer or her family. She was released on bail on 6 November 2014, reported Amnesty International.
On 10 January 2015 she was rearrested after she had been summoned to a Revolutionary Court, possibly in reprisal for a video message that she had published after her release, in which she explained how female prison guards had beaten her and subjected her to degrading body searches and other ill-treatment.
Tweet from CRNI
— CRNI (@CRNetInt) June 9, 2015
“Since news of Atena Farghadani’s sentence has been announced, and circulated internationally, many people and organizations are expressing concern that it does not correspond with the direction Iran stated it was taking with regard to Human Rights — and cannot understand how such could continue, in particular with relation to the international co-operation now developing between Iran and other nations, which, as with Iran, would be rightly challenged when injustices occur within their own legal systems.”
Excerpt from an Open letter for the freedom of Atena Farghadani
“Watching Atena Farghadani describe the treatment she experienced at the hands of prison guards while held at the notorious Gharchak prison (in her now infamous YouTube video), President Hassan Rouhani’s tweet comes to mind: ‘Art without freedom is meaningless’.”
Afsaneh Rigot, in her 18 June article on article19.org titled ‘Iran: We Must Protect the Right to Artistic Expression’
Sources and more information:
» Cartoonists Rights – 14 June 2015:
Artist/activist Atena Farghadani on hunger strike in iranian prison
» The Guardian – 13 June 2015:
#Draw4Atena: add your cartoons in support of the jailed Iranian artist
» Zen Pencils – 11 June 2015:
178. ATENA FARGHADANI: The right to draw
» Cartoonists Rights – 8 June 2015:
Open letter for the freedom of Atena Farghadani
» Amnesty International UK – 3 June 2015:
Painter Atena Farghadani imprisoned for drawing a cartoon in Iran
» The Washington Post – 1 June 2015:
Iranian artist Farghadani, who drew parliament as animals, sentenced to 12-plus years
» SolIranParis Blog – 29 May 2015:
La dessinatrice et militante féministe Iranienne Atena Farghadani vient d’être condamnée à une peine de 14 années d’emprisonnement
» IranWire – 28 May 2015:
Court Condemns Cartoon-Activist Atena Farghadani to 14 Years in Prison
» Global Voices – 20 May 2015:
Verdict Delayed in Detained Iranian Artist Atena Farghadani’s Trial
» BBC World – 19 May 2015:
Iranian artist goes on trial for cartoon mocking draft law
» Sans Compromis – 17 May 2015:
Atena Farghadani, artiste iranienne et militante des droits des femmes, condamnée à 14 ans de prison
» Amnesty International UK – 27 February 2015:
Jailed Iranian artist on hunger strike (PDF)
» Facebook support page: