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Iranian artist could see sentence extended after shaking lawyer’s hand

Atena Farghadani’s gesture has led to new charges including “indecent conduct”

by Gareth Harris  |  7 September 2015
Iranian artist could see sentence extended after shaking lawyer’s hand
Iranian cartoonist Atena Farghadani © Free Atena
The Iranian artist Atena Farghadani, who was sentenced to 12 years and nine months in prison earlier this year for criticising the Iranian government, now faces further charges according to Amnesty International.

Farghadani was arrested in August last year for drawing a cartoon that mocked members of parliament. In June, a court in Tehran found Farghadani guilty of “spreading propaganda against the system” and “insulting members of the parliament through paintings”, among other charges.

She depicted Iranian parliamentarians as monkeys and goats in protest at plans to introduce two separate bills, which will outlaw voluntary sterilisation and restrict access to contraception.

But she could now face a longer sentence. Amnesty says in a statement: “Atena's lawyer, Mohammad Moghimi, visited Atena in prison after her trial and shook her hand. The handshake led to charges of an 'illegitimate sexual relationship short of adultery' and 'indecent conduct' being brought against both Atena and Moghimi, who will be tried for those charges in due course.”

The statement adds: “Iran has pledged to protect free speech, including through artistic activities, as a signatory of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.” The Iranian Embassy in London declined to comment on the case.

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