Iranian artist-activist Atena Farghadani, who has been on a hunger strike in Gharchak Prison south of Tehran since February 9, 2015, is in precarious medical condition according to her lawyer, as reported by Amnesty International. “Her life is now literally in the hands of the Iranian authorities. She must receive the urgent medical care she needs,” Farghadani’s lawyer says. Farghadani began her hunger strike to protest her continued incarceration for her political views, advocacy work and art. She was arrested on January 10, 2015, by her country’s Revolutionary Guard on charges of “propoganda against the regime,” “insult to representatives of the parliament by means of cartoons,” and “insult to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and the three branches of government during the course of interrogation.” [Full Story]
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Cartoonists Rights Network International calls on the government of Malaysia to immediately release Zulkifli Anwar Ulhaque, aka Zunar, who is being held pending charges under the Sedition Act. We encourage cartoonists everywhere in the world to draw cartoons about Zunar’s situation in prison, and the government’s repeated yet always seemingly unsuccessful attempts at keeping Zunar repressed. Zunar has been invited to speak at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva Switzerland in March on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights’ article in support of freedom of speech. He will also be launching his newest cartoon book on the very day the government has said that it would release him, February 14, 2015. We call upon all responsible embassies in Kuala Lumpur to send their representatives to the book launching as witnesses to monitor what actions the Najib government might take against him. Je suis Zunar. [Full Story]
Ecuadorean cartoonist Bonil (Xavier Bonilla), who cartoons for the Guayaquil-based daily El Universo, has gone on trial for a cartoon published on August 5th, 2014. Ecuador’s president, Rafael Correa, publicly declared the cartoon “racist” because the cartoon’s political subject, ex-footballer Augusín Delgado, is black. The charge now being considered by Ecuador’s Superintendency of Communications (Supercom) is “socio-economic discrimination.” President Correa’s antagonism towards the press is well-documented. Correa’s actions against Bonil’s paper in 2010 was cited by the New York Times as a “campaign to silence and bankrupt El Universo, Ecuador’s largest newspaper” and condemned by Reporters Without Borders. [Full Story]
Palestinian cartoonist Mohammad Saba’aneh has been suspended from his job at al-Hayat al-Jadidah newspaper after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ordered an “immediate investigation” into one of his cartoons. The cartoon in question, published February 1, shows a robed figure sprinkling light over the globe from a heart-shaped pouch. The illustration, according to the artist, is meant to convey the benevolence of Islam but has been misinterpreted by some as a depiction of Muhammad. Saba’aneh recently served five months in an Israeli jail because of cartoons that Israel did not approve of. [Full Story]
Malaysian cartoonist Zunar, on a speaking tour in England, got word in the early hours of Wednesday, January 28, that his office in Kuala Lumpur was being raided by police. The police questioned Zunar’s staff and confiscated 155 copies of two of the cartoonist’s books. The Malaysian government has been weighing sedition charges against Zunar since November, 2014 — this despite a unanimous Court of Appeal decision a month earlier that the government had “acted unreasonably and irrationally” in banning and confiscating Zunar’s books in 2010. Reacting to the police action, Zunar told The Malaysian Digest: “The government condemned Charlie Hebdo’s attackers but now they are ‘attacking’ me.” [Full story]