Atena Farghadani, CRNI’s 2015 Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award winner, was freed from Evin prison on Tuesday, May 3, 2016.
Speaking to CRNI, Ms. Farghadani expressed her utmost appreciation of Cartoonists Rights Network International and all organizations, cartoonists and activists who have supported her throughout her incarceration and given a voice to her and her cause.
Following the YouTube video, Ms. Farghadani was re-arrested in January, 2015 — and five months later handed a 12 year, nine month prison sentence for counter-revolutionary activity, undermining national security, insulting the Supreme Leader, the Iranian president, Members of Parliament and jail officials, and for spreading propaganda against the Islamic Republic.
Last month a successful appeal by lawyer Mohammad Moghimi saw Ms. Farghadani’s prison sentence reduced to 18 months. Ms. Farghadani was acquitted of counter-revolutionary activity and undermining national security, and her sentence for insulting Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was suspended for three years. Her sentence for insulting the president and other individuals was converted into a monetary fine.
Everybody at Cartoonist Rights Network International is elated at the news that Atena has been at last freed. From the beginning her incarceration and the insults and indignities she has been subjected to have been illegal and unwarranted. Personally, I suspect she will rise above the trauma and continue to present her opinions as freely and independently as ever.