Atena Farghadani

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Farghadani was arrested on January 10, 2015, after she published a YouTube video in which she said that while she was jailed for three months in Evin Prison, female agents had mistreated her. She said that she was stripped and forced to submit to a nude search. In the video, Farghadani also said that cameras were present in the restrooms and shower of Evin Prison.

Farghadani had been imprisoned from August 2014 until November 2014 after she drew a cartoon of members of the Iranian parliament, depicting them as monkeys and cows over their vote to restrict contraception and ban some birth-control methods. She posted the cartoon on her Facebook page.

In February 2015, Farghadani began a hunger strike to protest the poor conditions at Gharchak Prison in the city of Varamin, which does not have a section for political prisoners. Her health suffered considerably. Her lawyer, Mohammad Moghimi, told the human rights group Amnesty International that Farghadani had a heart attack and briefly lost consciousness.

In June 2015, Farghadani was sentenced to 12 years and nine months in prison for “insulting parliament members,” “insulting the supreme leader,” “spreading propaganda against the system,” and “gathering and colluding against national security” in connection with the video and the cartoon. She appealed the sentence, reports said.

After her trial, Moghimi and Farghadani were both charged with “illegitimate sexual relations short of adultery” after the two shook hands in prison after her trial. They were tried behind closed doors in October 2015, according to news reports. No verdict had been issued in late 2015.

Cartoonists Rights Network International awarded its 2015 Courage in Editorial Cartooning to Farghadani. In September 2015, she waged another hunger strike, saying prison officials and guards verbally abuse her with sexual slurs and insults.