|There’s a lot of nastiness in the world|
David Cameron, you’re not such a bad cookie after all.
I opened my inbox today to find an invitation from Amnesty International to sign a petition to the Iranian government asking for the release of Atena Farghadani, who is due to go on trial on Tuesday, 19 May on charges of ‘spreading propaganda against the system’, ‘insulting members of parliament through paintings’ and ‘insulting the Supreme Leader of Iran’. This is what Amnesty International reported.
My wife is an artist who has drawn many political cartoons aimed against your philosophy and your government:
But not in a million years would I have even imagined that the police would have knocked on our door and arrested her for it.
Atena was first arrested in August last year and held at Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison for posting on Facebook a cartoon she’d drawn criticising members of Iran’s parliament for considering a bill to limit Iranian women’s access to contraception and family planning services.
Twelve officers turned up at her house. They confiscated her personal belongings, blindfolded her and placed her in solitary confinement for five days. She was held for almost two months, enduring daily nine-hour interrogations, with no access to a lawyer or her family.
She embarked on a hunger strike to protest against her detention which earned her another 10 days in solitary confinement but was released on bail on 6 November.
Her freedom was to be short lived. On 10 January 2015 she was re-arrested, possibly in connection with a YouTube video she posted describing her ill-treatment in prison.
On one occasion when she was discovered smuggling paper cups in to her cell (flattened to use as canvas for painting), two female prison guards came to her cell and asked her to strip naked for a body search. She says that when she resisted, the guards beat her, bruising her wrist and scratching her chest.
‘One of them told me “Shut your mouth or I will hit you so hard that your mouth will be full of blood”.’
If you’re moved, Complain now