Cartoonist Atena Farghadani, through a note leaked from prison, said she was forced to take a “virginity and pregnancy test” on 12 August 2015 prior to her trial on a charge of “illegitimate sexual relationship short of adultery” for shaking her lawyer’s hand when he visited her in prison, Amnesty International reported.
The human rights organisation saw the leaked note written by Farghadani in which she said that judicial authorities took her to a medical facility outside of the prison and forced her to take the tests to investigate the charge.
Amnesty International reported that such testing is internationally recognised as “a form of violence and discrimination against women and girls” and violates international law that Iran has ratified, specifically article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Farghadani was first arrested on 23 August 2014 on a variety of charges, including for her satirical cartoon criticising members of parliament who were discussing a bill that would restrict access to contraception and family planning services. In the cartoon, Farghadani depicted the politicians as animals in suits.
She was released on bail on 6 November 2014 and rearrested on 10 January 2015, possibly as a reprisal for posting a video after her release describing how she was beaten and mistreated during her stay. In June 2015 she was sentenced to 12 years and nine months for the cartoon.
» Amnesty International – 9 October 2015:
Iran: Imprisoned cartoonist subjected to forced ‘virginity test’
» Artsfreedom.org – 18 September 2015:
Iran: Imprisoned cartoonist possibly prosecuted over handshake
» Artsfreedom.org – 16 June 2015:
Iran: Cartoonist convicted several years in prison for her art