Cartooning for Peace / Alert Iran – Atena Farghadani

Alert Iran – Atena Farghadani


19 July 2023

Atena Farghadana finally released on bail.

Cartoonists rights shared news of Iranian cartoonist Atena Farghadani. After being admitted in an intensive care unit, she was finally released on bail. However, the risks of her appearing in court again remain.

Cartooning for Peace continues to monitor the evolving situation and, like Cartoonists Rights, calls for an immediate end to the abuse of the cartoonist.



30 June 2023

Iranian cartoonist Atena Farghadani has been transferred to an intensive care unit in a Tehran hospital.

According to the latest information provided by her lawyer and shared by the Committee to Protect Journalists and Cartoonists Rights , the cartoonist was admitted to intensive care on
21 June 2023 after being assaulted in prison and going on hunger strike because her food had been poisoned.
Atena Farghadani was arrested on 07 June 2023 and has since been held in Qarchak women’s prison. Charged with disturbing public order, this is not the first time she has faced Iranian justice. Between 2014 and 2016 , she had already been imprisoned for eighteen months on various charges.


In light of this worrying announcement, Cartooning for Peace is following the situation very closely.



12 June 2023

Following widespread press reports of the arrest and detention of Iranian artist, activist and cartoonist Atena Farghadani in Tehran on June 7th 2023, CARTOONISTS RIGHTS, Cartooning For Peace, and the FREEDOM  CARTOONISTS Foundation call for prosecutors in the Islamic Republic of Iran to drop the charges of “disturbing public order” and release Ms. Farghadani immediately.

According to her lawyer, Mohammad Moghimi: “Since her release in 2016, intelligence and security agents have harassed her many times, including prevention from employment, tapping her phone and disturbing her private life. These cases have caused her to protest against the agencies responsible and that has become the basis for her detention.”

It was Mr Moghimi who on June 8th and via Twitter confirmed her arrest after a summons to the courthouse at Evin Prison. The next day he further stated: “A bail in the amount of [$4,200] has been issued for my client Atena Farghdani, and she refused to accept the bail with the argument that she has not committed a crime and that her summons and charges are illegal and arbitrary, and for this reason, she was transferred to [the Qarchak Prison for women, outside Tehran].

From a trusted source we have learned the charges articulated so far relate to disturbance of the public order. After an absence of some three years and three months, Ms Farghadani took to her Instagram account last week and prior to her court summons had posted images of a new coloured pencil drawing. Despite much speculation online, at this time we have no reason to believe she was arrested because of this social media post.

Ms Farghadani was awarded the Courage in Cartooning Award by Cartoonists Rights in 2015, after a 2014 drawing posted to Facebook and depicting parliamentarians as animals, an objection to laws restricting women’s reproductive choices, led to a series of criminal charges including “spreading propaganda against the system”, “insulting members of parliament through paintings”, “gathering and colluding against national security”, “insulting the President”, and “insulting prison officials”.

After eighteen months in prison, all sentences were commuted or reduced, save one; over the following four years of her life Farghadani could have gone to prison again at any time under a suspended sentence of “insulting the Iranian Supreme Leader”.

Whilst a prisoner Ms Farghadani was severely abused and subjected to virginity and pregnancy tests against her will, practices that are designated torture by international human rights standards. She spent a period on hunger strike and suffered a heart attack. After a handshake between herself and Mr Moghimi she faced additional criminal charges of “’illicit sexual relations falling short of adultery”.

Hence, now that the same authorities have Ms Farghadani in custody again, there is good cause to fear escalation and further charges to come, as well as dire mistreatment.

In our view, Atena Farghadani is a prisoner of conscience, there is no justification for her detention, and we demand her immediate and unconditional release.


Download the joint Statement.



9 June 2023

Cartoonist Atena Farghadani detained in Iran

Iranian cartoonist Atena Faghadani, winner of the Cartoonists Rights Courage in Editorial cartoon Award in 2015 and who had already been imprisoned in 2014 and 2015, was re-arrested on 7 June 2023 without any charges having been revealed to date.



The cartoonist’s lawyer, Mohammad Moghimi, announced her summons to the Evin courthouse (Tehran) on Twitter on 7 June.

“Today, 17 June, my client Atena Farghdani, painter, cartoonist and former political prisoner, was summoned to Evin courthouse and arrested.” (Translation into english of the tweet)


Today, the lawyer reported that the cartoonist had refused to be released on bail of approximately 4,000 € (EUR), on the grounds that she had committed no crime and that the charges against her were illegal and arbitrary.

 “Bail in the sum of approximately 2 billion rials was issued for my client Athena Farghdani, but she refused to accept the bail, arguing that she had committed no crime and that her summons and charges were illegal and arbitrary, and for this reason she was transferred to Shahreri prison.” (Translation into english of the tweet)


According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Atena published a cartoon for the first time since 2020 on her Instagram account on 7 June 2023.


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Une publication partagée par Atena Farghadani (@atenafarghadani)

Cartooning for Peace will continue to monitor developments in the case.

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