Iranian painter and women’s rights campaigner Atena Farghadani was sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment today, May 28.
The 29-year old, who was charged with spreading propaganda against the regime and other offences, attended court on Tuesday, May 19 in connection with both her activism and art.
Revolutionary Guards arrested Farghadani in January 2015 after she posted a cartoon on Facebook that mocked politicians who supported an anti-contraception bill by drawing them with animal faces. The bill also set out to criminalize voluntary sterlization.
Farghadani was first arrested in November 2014 and detained for two months before being released. However, she was soon re-arrested after she spoke to the media about her incarceration and posted a video on YouTube about prison conditions.
During that time, she went on hunger strike, and suffered a heart attack as a result. As punishment for refusing to eat, Farghadani was moved from Evin Prison to a detention center.
Women’s rights activists, including Farghadani, have said they are worried that if the new legislation goes through, it will encourage further discrimination against women.
Farghadani has supported a range of human rights initiatives in Iran and is known to have met with the families of imprisoned human rights activists.
Ahead of the activist’s trial, Amnesty International campaigners gathered outside the Iranian consulate in London on May 18. Demonstrators called for the immediate release of Farghadani, and presented a petition with more than 33,000 signatures.
During the trial, Farghadani was accused of “spreading propaganda against the regime,” “insulting members of parliament,” and “insulting the Supreme Leader.”
The activist is also charged with “gathering and colluding with anti-revolutionary individuals and deviant sects” because of an art exhibition called Parandegan-e Khak (Birds of earth) that she previously held in commemoration of those killed in the bloody post-election crackdown of 2009.