Target: Iranian Minister of Justice Mostafa Pourmohammadi
Goal: Applaud the release of woman imprisoned for drawing a cartoon.
Iranian artist and activist Atena Farghadani, who was jailed for drawing a cartoon, has been freed having served over a year of a twelve year sentence. Farghadani has been in prison since January 2015 after drawing a cartoon that opposed government bills restricting access to contraception and divorce for women. During her ordeal in custody she was subjected to a forced virginity test and, after going on hunger strike, she suffered a heart attack.
Farghadani’s release comes following international pressure including a ForceChange petition and is an important step towards righting an injustice. However, Farghadani is not the only prisoner of conscience held in Iranian prisons, and her treatment is not unique. Human rights activists remain imprisoned on similar charges such as Bahareh Hedayat who has been imprisoned since 2009. While we should applaud Farghadani’s release, we should also take this opportunity to call for reform to the Iranian penal code, which makes it easy to imprison peaceful activists. Sign our petition to applaud the release of Atena Farghadani and call for reforms to ensure that no one will be subjected to such treatment in the future.
Dear Minister Pourmohammadi,
I am writing this letter to applaud the release of Atena Farghadani after eighteen months of imprisonment. Her release is a step towards upholding freedom of expression, freedom of speech, and freedom of press in Iran. With the release of Farghadani one injustice ends, however her ordeal reveals a need to reform the penal code to ensure that peaceful activists do not face prison for expressing their beliefs.
Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right, and as long individuals are not calling for violence, publishing one’s beliefs should not be considered a crime. Just as the Saudi execution of Sheikh Nimr Al-Nimr was an affront to justice, and human rights, so to is the imprisonment of individuals for peaceful activism. I urge you to reform the penal code to prevent such injustices as have occurred in the case of Atena Farghadani occurring to others. Further I ask that other prisoners of conscience such as Bahareh Hedayat, be released immediately.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Nicholas Raymond