Iran sentences female cartoonist to 6 years in prison

The Iranian state sentenced female cartoonist Atena Farghadani to 6 years in prison for her art.

Cartoonist Atena Farghadani, who is on trial at Branch 26 of Tehran's Revolutionary Court, was charged with ‘insulting sacred values’ and ‘propagating against the state’.

On 9 June, the court sentenced the cartoonist to five years in prison for ‘insult’ and one year in prison for ‘propaganda’. The sentence was notified to the cartoonist on 10 June.

Mohammad Moqimi, Atena Farghadani’s lawyer, described the trial and sentencing as a ‘theatrical verdict’. Trials lasting a few minutes are common in Iran. In these show trials, death sentences are systematically handed down.

Cartoonist Atena Farghadani was detained on 13 April while painting one of her works on a wall on Pastori Street in Tehran and was taken to Evin Women's Prison, notorious for torture.

A week after the arrest of the cartoonist, who is also a former political prisoner, her lawyer said his client had been tortured in a house run by security police.

Lawyer Mohammad Moqimi wrote on his social media account: "When Atena Farghadani went to Pastor Street to protest the harassment she suffered at the hands of security agencies and painted a protest cartoon on the wall, Revolutionary Guards intelligence agents used extreme violence, first taking her to one of their bunkers and severely torturing her. She lost consciousness as a result of nosebleeds and blows to the head. A few hours later, she regained consciousness in the masjid of the 8th police base in Fateb, where she realised that some of her clothes had been removed. After taking her clothes, she realised that blood stains had been removed from her clothes and on the morning of 14 April she was transferred to the Evin Courthouse. She was charged with ‘propaganda against the state’ and ‘insulting sacred values’ (the 12 Imam of the Shiites)."

Poisoning attempt

Atena Farghadani, a Tehran-based cartoonist, painter and children's rights activist, was arrested on 7 June 2023. In an interview after her release, she said that the authorities in Qarchak prison had tried to poison her. On 20 June, the cartoonist was abandoned in a hospital after losing consciousness due to a hunger strike.