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Iranian satirical cartoonist sentenced to 12 years

Atena Farghadani, 28, accused of spreading propaganda through her humorous portraits of Iranian lawmakers

Atena Farghadani, sentenced to 12 years, 9 months in prison in Iran for drawing cartoons. (Youtube screen capture / USA NEWS TODAY)
Atena Farghadani, sentenced to 12 years, 9 months in prison in Iran for drawing cartoons. (Youtube screen capture / USA NEWS TODAY)

An Iranian woman was sentenced to 12 years and 9 months behind bars this week by Tehran’s Revolutionary Court for sketching satirical cartoons of Iranian lawmakers.

In a trial that began May 19, Atena Farghadani, 28, was accused of “insulting members of parliament through paintings” and “spreading propaganda against the system,” Amnesty International reported.

Farghadani’s transgressions include caricaturing government ministers as animals and roasting officials for restricting birth control and contraception in the Islamic Republic.

She plans to launch an appeal against the unusually harsh sentence, her relatives indicated.

Farghadani was arrested in August and allegedly beaten, interrogated and held in solitary confinement while in prison, Amnesty International noted.

The judge in her case, Abolghassem Salavati, is also presiding over the case of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, currently on trial for alleged espionage.

Nikahang Kowsar, an Iranian political cartoonist who was previously jailed in Iran on similar charges, told the Post that Salavati has handed down especially harsh sentences to bloggers, activists and cartoonists.

Salavati “is known to be ruthless, and I believe Atena is a victim of the judicial system, Salavati, and people who should have supported her — all together,” Kowsar said.

“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. Many members of the Iranian parliament are just following the leaders without any thoughts,” he said.

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