Cartoon 39: The Cyclist in the Cell
Prisoner of conscience Faezeh Hashemi, an outspoken women’s rights activist and former Member of Parliament, was placed in solitary confinement at Evin Prison on December 29, 2012. Her voice, which joined other prisoners in the women’s ward in leading political chants of “Down with the Dictator” and “Down with the Oppressor, Be He the Shah or Be He the Leader,” was silenced by new charges against her of “insulting the Supreme Leader,” and “disrupting prison order.”
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran was informed of her new situation after her family went to visit Hashemi on December 30 and were told she was unavailable. The chanting was a manifestation by the women prisoners of Evin in protest of “unfair and inhumane policies adopted by prison authorities against prisoners.”
Formerly a Member of Parliament and a women’s activist known for a successful campaign she ran to allow women to bike in public in Iran, which was harshly criticized by hardliners, Hashemi is currently serving a six-month sentence for “propaganda against the regime.” The daughter of one of the most politically powerful men in Iran, the head of its Expediency Council and former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rasanjani, Hashemi has been banned from political, cultural, and press activities for five years.
An advocate for women’s rights and for advancing women in sports, Hashemi founded Zan (Women), Iran’s first woman-focused daily newspaper, and served as the vice president of the Iranian Olympic Committee and head of the Islamic Federation of Women’s Sports. In 1999, Zan was permanently banned. Hashemi has been in Evin Prison since September 2012.