Washington, DC – The National Iranian American Council released the following statement after Iranian authorities released imprisoned Iranian cartoonist Atena Farghadani:
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“NIAC welcomes the release of Atena Farghadani from prison following 18 months of imprisonment related to a political cartoon critical of Iranian authorities, and reiterates its call for the Iranian government to immediately release all other prisoners of conscience it has unjustly imprisoned.
“Farghadani was initially sentenced to more than twelve years in prison by the Iranian authorities after she drew a cartoon depicting the Iranian parliament as animals in protest of draft legislation that would limit access to contraception and prohibit voluntary sterilization. She was subjected to abuse by prison guards, periods of solitary confinement and a virginity test while imprisoned. Fortunately, Farghadani’s appeal successfully reduced her sentence to eighteen months, which enabled her release.
“Farghadani’s imprisonment and abuse were outrageous and contradictory to Iran’s international human rights obligations. While statements from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in opposition to the imprisonment of government critics are positive, hardliners continue to target and imprison individuals for free expression. Iran must do more to ensure that its citizens can express themselves freely without fear of government harassment and unjust imprisonment.”