Atena Faraghdani

Atena Faraghdani

Jailed artist Atena Faraghdani has expressed gratitude upon hearing she was awarded the 2015 Courage in Cartooning Award by the Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI), her father said after visiting her at Evin Prison on August 16, 2015.

Taghi Faraghdani also told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that the family hopes Atena will receive a reduced sentence during her upcoming judicial review. Her case has been referred to Branch 54 of the Appeals Court but no trial date has been set.

Atena Faraghdani, who was sentenced to 12 years and 9 months in prison on June 1, 2015, after drawing a cartoon depicting members of the Iranian Parliament as animals and posting it on her Facebook page, will receive her Courage in Cartooning award in absentia by CRNI founder and executive director Dr. Robert Russell in Columbus, Ohio, on September 5, at an evening event during the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists’ 2015 convention.

Each year CRNI gives its Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award to a cartoonist “who is in great danger or has demonstrated exceptional courage in the exercise of free speech rights, or both.”

Last week the Campaign learned that Faraghdani has recently been suffering from lymphatic disease and is awaiting medical treatment outside prison.

“The illness showed up recently and we are waiting to see if they send her to a specialist or to the prison infirmary,” Atena’s lawyer Mohammad Moghimi told the Campaign. “We hope that considering her health issues, the sentence against her will be changed in appeals court.”

The charges against Faraghdani include “assembly and collusion against national security,” “propaganda against the state,” and “insulting the Supreme Leader, the President, Members of the Parliament, and the IRGC [Revolutionary Guards] Ward 2-A agents” who interrogated her.