Iranian women activists jailed for their activismPublished by International Liberty on June 5, 2015
Two Iranian women have been sentenced to more than a decade of prison each for their anti-government views. Cartoonist Atena Farghadani has been sentenced to more than 12 years in prison, and Atena Daemi to more than 10 years for exercising their rights to free expression and association.
Amnesty International has called for their immediate release. Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said: “Atena Farghadani has effectively been punished for her cartoons with a sentence that is itself a gross caricature of justice. No one should be in jail for their art or peaceful activism. Such harsh and unjust sentences seem to be part of a disturbing trend in Iran, where the cost of voicing peaceful dissent is escalating, with punishments even worse than those issued in the post-2009 election crackdown.”
Atena Farghadani held an exhibition in memory of those killed in the crackdown that followed the 2009. In one of her cartoons she depicted legislators as ‘animal farm’ personage.
Last month, anti-death penalty and civil society activist, Atena Daemi was sentenced to 14 years in prison, including seven years for ‘gathering and colluding against national security’ and ‘spreading propaganda against the system’. She was also sentenced for ‘concealing evidence’ and for ‘insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Supreme Leader’.
The charge of ‘insulting the Supreme Leader and founder’ of the Islamic Republic of Iran relates to her Facebook condemning Iran’s disgraceful execution record over the past three decades.
The charge of ‘concealing evidence’ appears to relate to her reluctance to provide interrogators with information about an activist friend.
“The sheer absurdity of these convictions and long prison sentences reflect the extreme lengths that Iran’s judiciary is going to in order to squeeze the life out of freedom of expression and association”, Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui said in a statement.
“The Iranian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Atena Farghadani and Atena Daemi and ensure their convictions and sentences are quashed”, she added.