Iranian editorial cartoonist Hadi Heidari will likely stay behind bars until the late fall of 2016.
Heidari, 38, had been sentenced to a year in prison for his cartoons in 2013 — but after a month in jail, the cartoonist was released and his sentence suspended. However, two years later on Nov. 16, 2015, Heidari was re-arrested after posting a widely shared and tweeted cartoon in solidarity with the French people following the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris. He is now in jail to serve the remainder of that 2013 sentence.
Based on the draft of Judge Mohammed Moghisseh’s ruling in 2013, Heidari’s “Propaganda Activities” included “negatively portraying the situation [in Iran] for women, freedom of speech, wealth of society,” supporting the “Green Movement,” “insulting the high ranking officials of the regime” and “revolutionary organizations.” In addition, he has been charged with insulting war veterans, and portraying the Basij (Revolutionary Guards Volunteers) as naive individuals.
Judge Moghisseh ruled in 2013 that based on his published cartoons, Heidari be punished under the Article 500 of the Islamic Punitive Law.
In his decision, Judge Moghisseh also mentioned Heidari’s ’s membership of the banned “Mosharekat” party, his presence on social media, and the publication of his cartoons in anti-revolutionary outlets like Roozonline.com in France.
The judge also considered Heidari’s cartoons criticizing the electoral supervision and claiming that the 2009 election was rigged a harmful action against the regime.
Heidari is the second cartoonist to be sent to Evin prison in recent months. Before Heidari, Atena Farghadani, the winner of CRNI’s 2015 Courage in Editorial Cartooning award, was given a 12 year/9 month jail sentence and is currently in the Women’s Ward of Evin prison.
Farghadani’s Appeals Court session was held in December 2015, but verdict has not yet been announced.