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]
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. Both her lawyer and Amnesty Internatonal are calling for the artist’s immediate and unconditional release.
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”.
The cartoon in question reportedly depicted suited apes and boars casting voting on legislation and, according to Amnesty International, “was critical of members of the parliament for considering a bill that sought to criminalize voluntary sterilization as part of a larger plan to restrict access to contraception and family planning services.”
CRNI is a proud member of the IFEX network of organisations working in defence of freedom of expression.
On the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists we join with them in calling for the equitable treatment of all press and media workers who seek to speak truth to power and moreover guarantees for their safety and justice for those who have suffered at the hands of extremist groups and authoritarian regimes. IFEX Executive Director Annie Game has written an op ed about the latest such cases, not least of which the late Jamal Khashoggi.
We pay tribute to the cartoonists who have died for their work such as Akram Raslan in Syria or the victims at the Charlie Hebdo massacre in France. We recall the sacrifices of those who have been to prison for having the temerity to criticise the state, just as Atena Farghedani did in Iran and Ramón Nsé Esono Ebalé in Equatorial Guinea.
And we remember the cartoonists who are currently working in highly dangerous situations such as Pedro X Molina in Nicaragua or Mohammad Saba’aneh in Palestine as well as those who have had their careers effectively ended, like Musa Kart in Turkey, now retired as he faces a prison sentence.
Lastly we think about the many cartoonists who endure constant threats and harassment online, often hand in hand with misogynist attacks. Kanika Mishra, Majda Shaheen, Doaa Eladl and many other female cartoonists have to persist despite a level of abuse most of their male counterparts cannot imagine.
Please join in November 2nd and post a message as part of the #NoImpunity campaign.
To Report a Cartoonist in Danger Email Cartoonists Rights Network
We present quick updates on several cartoonists we’ve written about in the last several months including past recipients of our annual Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award.
• Atena Farghadani was freed from Evin prison, Iran, just over a year ago. She is the subject of the latest episode in Amnesty International’s podcast series In Their Own Words. Listen to her account of her persecution on Amnesty’s site or use the embedded file below.
• The most complicated and distressing case CRNI has ever reported on has entered a new phase. As the scheduled closure of Manus Island Regional Processing Centre gathers pace, options narrow for Eaten Fish. We prepared a summary of his situation for Cartooning For Peace and inclusion in their exhaustive report on the current situation for cartoonists under threat around the world. Download their document in English or French.
• Musa Kart and his colleagues awaiting trial in Turkey have been joined by yet another staff member from the Cumhuriyet newspaper; the recent arrest of the paper’s online editor Oğuz Given was rapidly followed by detention warrants for over thirty people who simply commented on the last story he posted. Conditions for journalists and media workers continue to deteriorate in the country. We note the announced closure of Penguen magazine, a victim of President Erdoğan’s ire even before the 2016 coup attempt and the crackdown that followed. Musa has written about his friends at Penguen from jail, saying:
“My dear friends Bahadır Baruter, Erdil Yaşaroğlu, Selçuk Erdem and Metin Üstündağ had to end publishing the paper edition of the satirical magazine ‘Penguen’, they are very good humourists, they will continue their work via other platforms. No matter how much pressure is made on humour, it will keep on living, even in prisons. By the way, I humbly recommend to those of you who want to see humour on paper the Cumhuriyet indictment which is available in all book stores. Read it, you’ll laugh hard.”
• Arifur Rahman is unbowed by the attack two months ago on his exhibition in Norway. Recent profiles in The Indian Express and Times of India (below) attest to his dedication to the principle of Freedom of Expression.
• Zunar continues to fight for his right to travel, seeking the release of his passport held since the end of last year. Despite being unable to join colleagues elsewhere, even as they exhibit his work, he remans in good spirits. His broader battle against charges of sedition moves incrementally toward the Malaysian Supreme Court. Zunar expects a trial date later this year and we will continue to monitor his situation closely.
My cartoons exhibition at Alte Feuerwache,Cologne
29 April.I cant go due to travel ban. Next on 17 May at University Bonn at Dei Academicus pic.twitter.com/MCMyRCL83B
— Zunar Cartoonist (@zunarkartunis) May 10, 2017
To Report a Cartoonist in Danger Email Cartoonists Rights Network International
CRNI notes the recent decision taken by French and British members of FECO International to leave the federation.
FECO-France, now France-Cartoons, explain their reasoning here.
PCO, the UK’s organisation for professional cartoonists, do likewise here.
For our part, CRNI is unequivocal in its condemnation of Iran’s suppression of freedom and imprisonment of artists, journalists and cartoonists. Three times over we have given our annual Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award to victims of the regime, most recently Atena Farghadani.
It is for the members of FECO to settle internal disputes and determine what conduct warrants exclusion. We will continue to monitor the situation with interest and share practical information concerning the safety of cartoonists with multiple organisations in touch with many hundreds around the world.
To Report a Cartoonist in Danger Email Cartoonists Rights Network International
“Laws exist, rightly, to protect vulnerable people and minority groups from abuse. Comedy exists, essentially, as a means to be transgressive in a way that does not damage anyone. These are the waters cartoonists must navigate, and that’s tricky enough in a ‘liberal’ country. We’ll talk today about cartoonists who aren’t so lucky”. — Terry Anderson
On three successive weekends in April and May I had the opportunity to speak about CRNI and our work at some very different events around the UK.
- Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival, marking its 13th year in the historic market town in Shropshire, close to the English/Welsh border. The Shrewsbury festival is supported in no small measure by the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation of which I’m a member.
- The Chirnside Friends of David Hume’s annual dinner. The charity promotes the writings and preserves the home of the philosopher Hume in the small village of Chirnside in the Scottish Borders area.
- Granite City Comic Con in Aberdeen on Scotland’s north east coast. A relatively new event on the calendar but growing in popularity and scale.