TEHRAN – An Iranian artist Atena Farghadani has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for drawing satirical cartoons of politicians who decided to restrict women’s access to birth control.
The charges stem from a cartoon Farghadani posted online that depicted Iranian leaders as monkeys and cows.
According to her relatives, Ms Farghadani plans to launch an appeal against the harsh sentence.
‘Naturally we are all upset by the sentence…But seeing how optimistic Atena has been, we are trying to maintain that outlook too,’ one family member told Fox News.
‘She’s truly an angel… She just loves people and animals, and besides for all her artistic talent, she is such a strong supporter of human rights,’ another added.
In November, the 28 – year-old was released for a short period of time, but was called back by authorities six weeks later after she was accused of publicly discussing the torture and beatings she allegedly endured by prison guards, including posting a YouTube video describing her brutal treatment.
It is pertinent to mention here that the judge who handed down the harsh prison sentence, Abolghassem Salavati, is known as ‘Iran’s hanging judge’ or ‘the judge of death’ in his country thanks to his reputation for harsh punishments.
He is particularly notorious for handing out harsh sentences to journalists, artists, bloggers and political activists, making his named in the aftermath of the street protests that were brutally crushed during Iran’s 2009 general election.
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