July 8, 2015
(ANTIMEDIA) On June 1, artist and human rights activist Atena Faragdhani was sentenced to more than 12 years in an Iranian prison after she was deemed critical of the Iranian regime.
Her crime? The 29-year old civil activist, described as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International U.K., is being punished for drawing a cartoon depicting members of parliament as various animals. Amnesty continues to call on the public for support in asking the authorities to release her immediately.
The Iranian state found Atena guilty of “colluding against national security,” “insulting members of parliament through paintings,” “spreading propaganda against the system,” and “insulting the President and the Supreme Leader.” The charges were made after a series of anti-government Facebook posts and an art exhibition commemorating those killed in Iran’s ruthless post-election crackdown of 2009.
As if the heavy sentencing wasn’t bad enough, Atena’s story went from bad to worse after she was accused of ‘’illegitimate relations’’ for shaking hands with her lawyer.
Atena and her defense lawyer, Mohammad Moghimi, face charges of “non-adultery illegitimate relations” for shaking hands after he visited the prison to assist her with an appeal against her sentence. They will both be tried for indecent conduct and an illegitimate sexual relationship. The handshake took place in a room in the presence of two other people and Mr Moghimi was arrested immediately.
After being detained in prison for three days, Mr. Moghimi was released after paying a huge bail. Although he is $60 000 lighter for his experience, at least he is free. Meanwhile the young, female human rights activist will remain in prison, having committed no real crime other than to peacefully express her opinion.
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