Iranian Cartoonist Jailed For Over 12 Years For Drawing Politicians As Animals

_83084167_83084160Atena Farghadani, a female 28 year-old artist from Iranian artist and activist, has been jailed by the courts for her artwork, which portrays Iranian politicians as both monkeys and cattle.

imrs.phpHer work which parodied the actions of government as regard to restrictions on birth control and vasectomies, saw her sentenced to twelve years and nine months jail.

First arrested back in August, Farghadani was held in Gharchak prison until November, then rearrested in January after reporting online that she had been beaten by prison guards for refusing strip searches after she smuggled paper cups into her cell to paint on, and was interrogated up to nine hours a day. After that second arrest, Farghadani went on hunger strike to protest conditions, and was hospitalised in February after a heart attack. Since then, she has been held in Tehran's Evin Prison in solitary confinement until her trial, on charges including "insulting members of parliament through paintings" and "spreading propaganda against the system"

10256157_407251096100026_4873223901358756614_nOver 30,000 signed an Amnesty International petition protesting her imprisonment.

Iranian American political cartoonist Nikahang Kowsar was also jailed for a similar crime. He explained the cartoons to the Washington Post, "Atena is being punished for something many of us have been doing in Iran: drawing politicians as animals, without naming them. Of course, I drew a crocodile and made a name that rhymed with the name of powerful Ayatollah, and caused a national security crisis in 2000. What Atena drew was just an innocent take on what the parliamentarians are doing, and based on the Iranian culture, monkeys are considered the followers and imitators, [and] cows are the stupid ones. Many members of the Iranian parliament are just following the leaders without any thoughts."

As to the sentence, he states "She's not a relative or a close person to powerful people … Atena does not have any real support coming from the reformists and the politicians close to the Rouhani government."

About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.