Iran has continued its assault on free speech this week with the jailing of an artist for simply drawing a cartoon disparaging members of parliament. Atena Farghadani, 28, who is a peaceful activist and artist who sought to mock the decision to restrict birth control for women. Rather than respond to such criticism, the ruling Mullahs sent her to jail.
The Revolutionary Guards raided Farghadani’s house, took her personal belongings, blindfolded her, and threw her into jail. Farghadani was charged with “insulting members of parliament through paintings” for drawing the officials as animals. When she was briefly released in November, she was arrested again for alleging discussion her torture and beatings while incarcerated. Before being sent back to jail, Farghadani posted an open letter to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei to her Facebook page that stated “What you call an ‘insult to representatives of the parliament by means of cartoons’ I consider to be an artistic expression of the home of our nation (parliament), which our nation does not deserve! I, therefore, must pay retribution for defending my beloved defenseless people.”
For that, she was thrown into the hell hole known as Evin prison in solitary confinement. The case shows how blasphemy and religious crimes inevitably feed an insatiable appetite to criminalize and control speech of all kinds.
Farghadani stands as inspiring figure for everyone who values free speech. She has stood her grounds despite torture and cruel confinement in one of the most notorious prisons on Earth. It is embarrassing to call oneself a free speech advocate in the face of such unbridled courage. She is the perfect counterfoil to the morally corrupt regime of Iran’s Mullahs. That is precisely why they felt that they had to bury her deep in the confines of Evin.
Source: Washington Post