Iran: Imprisoned cartoonist possibly prosecuted over handshake
Amnesty International reported that Atena Farghadani, 29, who was was sentenced to 12 years and nine months in prison after she depicted Iranian government officials as monkeys and goats in a satirical cartoon, may face a longer sentence amid claims over a handshake: her lawyer Mohammad Moghimi visited her in prison and shook her hand – which is illegal in Iran.
Atena Farghadani now may face an even longer prison sentence. She is believed to be serving her sentence in Gharchak Prison and was reported in September 2015 to have gone on a three day hunger strike to protest against the verbal abuse she has suffered in prison.
Voice Project reported that Atena Farghadani was taken for urgent medical attention four days into the hunger strike
— The Voice Project (@thevoiceproject) September 19, 2015
Amnesty International wrote about the new charges against Atena Farghadani and her lawyer:
“Atena’s lawyer, Mohammad Moghimi, visited Atena in prison after her trial and shook her hand. The handshake led to charges of an ‘illegitimate sexual relationship short of adultery’ and ‘indecent conduct’ being brought against both Atena and Moghimi, who will be tried for those charges in due course. (…) Iran has pledged to protect free speech, including through artistic activities, as a signatory of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”
“In a shocking development in June 2015, further charges were levied against Farghadani and her lawyer. They are accused of ‘illegitimate sexual relationship short of adultery’ and ‘indecent behaviour’ in what Amnesty International, which considers Farghadani a Prisoner of Conscience, described as ‘itself a gross caricature of justice’. During a prison visit that month, lawyer Mohammed Moghimi, had shook hands with his client, for which he was arrested then released on bail of $60,000.
An international campaign has been launched by organisations including the Cartoonists Rights Network with an open call for artists from around the world to create their own images in response to Farghadani’s plight and to post them on Twitter under the hashtag #draw4atena.
Profile: Atena Farghadani
» Voice Project – 19 September 2015:
Imprisoned Artist Atena Farghadani goes on Hunger Strike to Protest Abuse
» Iranfreedom.org – 18 September 2015:
Iran: Imprisoned artist and women rights activist Atena Faraghdani stages hunger strike
» The Independent – 9 September 2015:
Satirical cartoonist to have 12 year prison term extended over handshake
Article by Matilda Battersby
» International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran – 24 August 2015:
Imprisoned Cartoonist Grateful for International Courage Award
» Voice Project – 17 august 2015:
Iranian Artist Suffering from Lymphatic Disease in Prison
— The Voice Project (@thevoiceproject) August 18, 2015
» Artsfreedom – 16 June 2015:
Cartoonist convicted several years in prison for her art