Target: Ayatollah Sayyid ‘Ali Khamenei, Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Goal: Release hunger-striking artist jailed for her activism.
Atena Farghadani, an artist who was arrested after posting a cartoon critical of the government to Facebook, is in critical condition as a result of a hunger strike she has undertaken to protest her detention. She needs immediate medical attention and ought to be freed.
Farghadani has been in and out of jail since August 2014. She was arrested after meeting with the families of people killed in the protests following the contentious 2009 election. In addition to that, she was questioned about her opposition to a proposed bill that would outlaw voluntary sterilization as a birth control method and about a cartoon she drew and posted to Facebook criticizing the measure. She began a “wet” hunger strike—a strike in which one refuses food but continues to drink water—in October 2014 to protest the fact that she was being held in solitary confinement.
Farghadani was released in December 2014 and shortly thereafter posted a video to YouTube detailing the abuses she suffered while in prison. She was re-arrested and has undertaken another “wet” hunger strike. As a result, she has suffered a heart attack and has been hospitalized.
Freedom of expression is guaranteed under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Farghadani’s detention violates the tenets of this treaty and qualifies her as a prisoner of conscience. As such, she must be released immediately and the charges against her must be dropped. In the meantime, however, she must be guaranteed access to healthcare, her family, and her lawyer. Sign the petition and demand that Iranian authorities respect Atena Farghadani’s right to freedom of expression.
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) guarantees the right to freedom of expression—a right that artist Atena Farghadani was exercising when she was arrested, held in solitary confinement, and subjected to beatings and ill-treatment. She has begun a “wet” hunger strike to protest her detention, but her health is rapidly deteriorating and she is in dire need of medical attention. I urge you to do what is right and just: Drop all charges against Farghadani and ensure that she receives the medical care she needs.
Farghadani’s original arrest came in August 2014 as a result of her meeting with families of those killed in the aftermath of the disputed 2009 elections and of her posting a cartoon criticizing the proposed ban on voluntary sterilization to Facebook. While in prison, she was held in solitary confinement and beaten by guards before beginning a “wet” hunger strike. She was released in December 2014 and re-arrested after posting a video exposing the abuses she was subjected to in prison.
Farghadani’s current “wet” hunger strike has placed her in critical condition, and she has suffered a heart attack as a result of her lack of nutrition. The Iranian government still has time to right the wrong that has been done to Farghadani, and I urge you to seize the opportunity to do the right thing: Drop all charges against Farghadani and guarantee her access to the medical care she needs. Additionally, I implore you to ensure that all prisoners in Iran are subjected to fair and humane treatment and have unfettered access to lawyers and medical care, as well as regular communication with their families.
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Photo credit: Nicolas Raymond via Flickr