29-year old Iranian artist Atena Farghadani is currently facing 12 years and 9 months in prison after being arrested for her cartoon depicting the Iranian government as animals (image below). According to The Independent, Farghadani drew the cartoon in response to the Iranian government’s plans to outlaw voluntary sterilization and restrict access to contraception.
She will also be charged at a later date for shaking the hand of her lawyer, Mohammad Moghimi, when he visited her in prison shortly after her trial. According to the same article, “This led to them being charged with ‘indecent conduct’ and having an ‘illegitimate sexual relationship short of adultery.’”
It is difficult to understand the laws and cultural beliefs of countries outside of the Western world that do not share our collective beliefs. However in this situation, I believe the government is acting out of oppression rather than cultural belief. According to Elise Auerbach, the Iran country specialist at Amnesty International, and as quoted by the Huffington Post, “The laws on the books in Iran are a kind of arsenal or tool kit always available for use by the authorities in their efforts to suppress any form of expression they don’t approve of.”
It is difficult to follow the trial, as the global media has not yet addressed it on a large scale. If you’re interested in reading more about this story, you can look at these articles by the Washington Post and Cartoonists Rights.
If you want to get more involved in the campaign to free Farghadani, Cartoonists Rights have contact information for Iran’s permanent mission to the United Nations here, you can look at Amnesty International’s campaign, and you can look at the Facebook page.
NOTE: No images or articles mentioned in this post are our own, and are all linked to their corresponding sources. The image above is not our own, and is from here.