Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Atena Farghadani, Iranian Cartoonist, facing a dozen years behind bars for drawing cartoons.

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Reported to be the offending Atena Farghadani cartoon

Our Comrade Faces 12 Years in an Iranian Gaol for Drawing this

Iranian artist-activist Atena Farghadani has been handed a 12 year prison sentence by Tehran’s Revolutionary Court for posting a cartoon in protest at legislation to restrict birth-control and make divorce more difficult in her country. The illustration, in which Iran’s parliamentarians were depicted with animal heads, was posted on Farghadani’s Facebook page.

After spending nine months in prison awaiting trial, during which time she reportedly suffered a heart attack while on a hunger strike, Farghadani has been found guilty of “insulting members of parliament through paintings” and “insulting the Iranian supreme leader.”

The 28-year-old painter had also been charged with “gathering and colluding with anti-revolutionary individuals and deviant sects” for contact she had with families of political prisoners and followers of the Baha’i faith during a painting exhibition.  The exhibition — Parandegan-e Khak (Birds of Earth) —  focused attention on protesters killed by government forces in the wake of Iran’s contested 2009 election.

More here


Originally signaled by Ex-Muslims Forum.

Amnesty International adds (today).

Atena Farghadani

Atena Farghadani is a prisoner of conscience, sentenced to over 12 years in prison for her peaceful activism.

28-year-old Atena was tried on 19 May on charges including ‘spreading propaganda against the system’ and ‘insulting members of parliament through paintings’. She was sentenced to 12 years and nine months in prison.

Ahead of her trial, more than 33,000 of you signed our petition to the Iranian authorities calling for Atena’s release. We continue to call on Iran’s Supreme Leader and Head of the Judiciary to release Atenda immediately – she has committed no crime. The fight for her freedom continues.

Last August, 12 members of the Revolutionary Guards came to Atena’s house. They confiscated her personal belongings, blindfolded her and took her to Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison.  She was to be punished for her peaceful acts of political defiance, including meeting the families of political prisoners and for posting on Facebook a cartoon she’d drawn that was critical of members of the Iranian parliament.

Iran is currently creating a law that will roll back women’s rights in the country by restricting access to contraception and criminalising voluntary sterilisation. Atena’s cartoon, which depicted politicians in favour of this Bill, is now being held against her – one of the charges she has been convicted of is ‘insulting members of parliament through paintings’.

While in prison last year, Atena flattened paper cups to use them as a surface to paint on. When the prison guards realised what she had been doing, they confiscated her paintings and stopped giving her paper cups. When Atena found some cups in the bathroom, she smuggled them into her cell. Soon after, she was beaten by prison guards, when she refused to strip naked for a full body search. Atena says that they knew about her taking the cups because they had installed cameras in the toilet and bathroom facilities – cameras detainees had been told were not operating.

Atena was released in November last year, but rearrested just six weeks later. In the time that she was released, she gave media interviews and posted a video on youtube describing how the prison guards had interrogated her for nine hours every day for six weeks. She said that female prison guards had beaten her and subjected her to degrading body searches.

Just weeks after posting her youtube video, Atena was once again arrested – possibly as reprisal for speaking out.

She was sentenced to 12 yeas and nine months on  charges including

  • Gathering and colluding against national security
  • Spreading propaganda against the system
  • Insulting members of parliament through paintings
  • Insulting her interrogators

Atena is a prisoner of conscience – she has committed no real crime. She is being unfairly punished simply for exercising her right to free speech, association and assembly.

Atena was kept in solitary confinement for over two weeks when she was detained last year in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison. During that time she was denied access to her lawyer or family. After her release from detention, she said that she’d been beaten by prison guards.

Three weeks after she was rearrested in January this year, Atena went on hunger strike to protest that she was being held in extremely poor prison conditions, in a jail that does not have a section for political prisoners. Atena’s health suffered considerably as a result; her lawyer told us that the 28-year-old had suffered a heart attack and briefly lost consciousness in late February as a result of her hunger strike.

Atena has since been moved to another detention centre and stopped her hunger strike, but we remain worried about her health.


Written by Andrew Coates

June 3, 2015 at 5:08 pm

8 Responses

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  1. it is rather odd that some left-right (not red-brown more red-blue) types such as yourself are so interested in the intricacies of the Iranian state. i am sure the Iranians do nasty things, but so do we and so does everyone else, and last but not least so does Israel and Saudi Arabia etc. Amnesty? a bourgeois human rights tearjerk organization.

    furthermore, this is not a blasphemy issue, but a case of anti state propaganda working with foreign agents who’ve wanted to overthrow the republic for decades and reinstall a western puppet.


    June 3, 2015 at 5:18 pm

  2. as regards free speech, I think holocaust revisionism is not a crime, i agree with Chomsky on this issue. At the same time, I don’t subscribe to that view. One law for all, free speech across the board. it is hypocritical to celebrate free speech when it attacks Muslims, but not when scholars such as Faurisson question certain historical narratives. do you think that holocaust revisionism is really a crime? or is it just a historical opinion, albeit one i don’t share?


    June 3, 2015 at 5:22 pm

  3. Dean, please carry on and make a fool of yourself as much as you like.

    By the way I am a supporter of this campaign: #‎JeSuisRaif‬, both their Francophone group and their English speaking one.

    Je Suis Raif Badawi: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/frank-schaeffer/je-suis-raif-badawi_b_6477410.html

    We had changed our mind: you are banned Dean under our Safe Spaces and Anti-Racist policies.

    Andrew Coates

    June 3, 2015 at 5:26 pm

  4. Andrew, I don’t need a safe space online, and I can deal with some people’s backward attitudes. I’m Jewish and have to wade through my share of abuse whenever I go online. Online is where the trolls and freaks and creeps come out to play. I just deal with it and move on. Don’t need to be coddled.

    It is clear that Dean hadn’t read the article before responding to it. The author clearly said nothing about blasphemy.

    It’s amusing to see how apologists for certain people’s pet regimes mirror each other. Criticize an Israeli atrocity and the Israel apologists’ hearts bleed for the Syrians. Criticize Syrian atrocities and the true believers in the Putin-Assad-Khamene’i Axis of Resistance will express their tender feelings for the Palestinians. So predictable. So morally bankrupt.

    Faurisson was not “question[ing] certain historical narratives”. He was engaged in a major falsification of history which affects people within living memory. That people like Dean cry such crocodile tears over his fate is one of many reasons I am against these anti-racism laws–they crown their victims with the crown of martyrdom. But that said, there is a difference between satirizing some politicians (which is what the artist was guilty of) and providing cover for genocide. Indeed, there is a difference between satirizing a religion (which the artist did not do) and covering for genocide.

    By the way if you want to ban Dean for being a troll, I think you’re on solid ground. Attacking an article without having read it and raising spurious and irrelevant issues is trolling.


    June 3, 2015 at 6:52 pm

  5. I take my hat off to people like Atena, they are so brave. The question is, ‘will George Galloway take his hat off to her?’.

    Sue R

    June 3, 2015 at 8:57 pm

  6. […] Source: Atena Farghadani, Iranian Cartoonist, facing a dozen years behind bars for drawing cartoons. […]

  7. I was being ironic about safe spaces.

    Yes, it’s simply trolling.

    Personally I feel very strongly about the fate of our Iranian sisters and brothers and really really do not like to see them mocked.

    Andrew Coates

    June 4, 2015 at 12:58 pm

  8. I think Dean makes valid points. you may feel strongly about the fate of your Iranian brothers and sisters, but it is a very selective choice you make, which also supports the pro zionist line of the AWL,
    what next, Transgender rights in Iran! Gay rights in Iran!


    June 4, 2015 at 11:00 pm

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