Atena Faraghdani, Artist and Civil Activist

Atena Faraghdani, Artist and Civil Activist

The artist and civil activist Atena Faraghdani, behind bars since January 10, 2015, went on a hunger strike in Evin Prison to protest continuous verbal abuse by prison staff, and she required urgent medical care when her blood pressure dropped, her mother Eshrat Ardestani told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

“Atena was looking really bad when we visited her on September 13, 2015. She could barely walk and could not stand on her feet. Then we realized she had been on a dry [refusing water as well as food] hunger strike for three days. On the fourth day her blood pressure had dropped so low that they had to take her to the clinic on [a makeshift stretcher made of] a sheet,” Ardestani said.

Asked why Faraghdani had refused food and water, her mother said prison staff had been repeatedly abusing her verbally, suggesting she has had sexual relations with her lawyer, Mohammad Moghimi.

Moghimi was detained for four days on June 13, 2015 after shaking Faraghdani’s hand during a prison visit and charged with “non-adultery illegitimate relations.”.

“They have tarnished my daughter’s reputation in prison. They are playing with her integrity with their [ugly] words. Aetna has been facing all this abuse and mistreatment for more than a year,” Ardestani added.

Atena Faraghdani, the recipient of the 2015 Courage in Cartooning Award by the Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI), was sentenced on June 1, 2015, to 12 years and nine months in prison after drawing a cartoon that showed members of the Iranian Parliament as animals and posting it on her Facebook page.

The charges against her were “assembly and collusion against national security,” “propaganda against the state,” and “insulting” the Supreme Leader, the President, Members of the Parliament, and the Revolutionary Guards agents who interrogated her. Her case has been sent to Branch 54 of the appeals court.

Faraghdani has also developed signs of lymphatic disease during her imprisonment.

“Atena has lost everything as a young university honor student in prison. She has nothing more to lose. All this psychological torture against a young imprisoned girl is unnecessary. Why do they have to make life difficult for her even in prison?” her mother said.

To read this article in Farsi, please see http://persian.iranhumanrights.org/1394/06/atena-farghadani/