Imprisoned cartoonist forced to face ‘virginity test’  

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Justice for Iran (JFI), 9 October 2015  | Court hearing for civil rights activist and cartoonist, Atena Farghadani, and her lawyer, Mohammad Moghimi, accused of shaking hands together, was conducted in secrecy behind closed doors on October 3 . The session at the Qods Judicial Complex in Tehran took place following Farghadani facing months of pressure and harassment based on the trumped up charge of illegitimate sexual relationship with her lawyer.

Reliable sources have informed JFI that last August this female political prisoner was summoned to a clinic where she was forced to undergo virginity and pregnancy tests.

JFI demands Farghadani’s immediate and unconditional release. In addition, it demands that all authorities responsible for violation of her rights, in particular, humiliation and harassment through bodily inspection, virginity and pregnancy tests, should be held accountable.

During a visit last June Farghadani shook hands with her lawyer, Mohammad Moghimi. Charges of “Illegitimate sexual relationship” were pressed against both resulting in a three-day detention for Moghimi.  According to the information shared with JFI detaining Faraghdani’s lawyer resulted in missing the deadline to appeal her sentence of 12 years and 9 months in prison.

JFI demands Farghadani’s immediate and unconditional release. In addition, it demands that all authorities responsible for violation of her rights, in particular, humiliation and harassment through bodily inspection, virginity and pregnancy tests, should be held accountable.

Despite promises by prison authorities to cooperate following a three-day hunger strike by Farghadani protesting her degrading treatment and humiliating tests, last week an unexpected announcement was made regarding a court hearing scheduled for today. According to Iran’s Penal Code, the charge made against Farghadani and her lawyer is punishable by up to 99 lashes.

Cartoonist and civil rights activist Farghadani was first arrested on 23 August 2014 by Islamic Republic Guard Corps Intelligence officials and detained in Ward 2A. Following her release she published a video in which she describes the manner in which prison authorities sexually harassed her and ignored her appeals. Sexual torture of female political prisoners disguised as body search is a long standing practice in Iranian prisons, resulting in case appeals by victims. However, the perpetrators remain at large.

According to the information shared with JFI detaining Faraghdani’s lawyer resulted in missing the deadline to appeal her sentence of 12 years and 9 months of prison.

Following the release of her video, instead of investigating those responsible, Farghadani was once again arrested and transferred to Qarchak Women’s Detention Centre. Following her hunger strike and deteriorating health, she was transferred to Evin Prison where she now remains.

According to the information shared with JFI detaining Faraghdani’s lawyer resulted in missing the deadline to appeal her sentence of 12 years and 9 months of prison.

In June 2014, Branch 15 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Tehran presided by Judge Abdolghassem Salavati, laid several charges against Farghadani including her appeal regarding the illegal actions of guards in Ward 2A, drawing cartoons objecting to the parliamentary bill to increase the population, and criticizing Islamic Republic authorities, and sentenced her to 12 years and 9 months in prison. Judge Salavati whose record includes serious human rights violations is among those whose names are included on the EU list of sanctions. Despite many appeals and widespread objections by the international community, including known cartoonists, her case has yet to be reviewed.

 JFI demands Farghadani’s immediate and unconditional release. In addition, it demands that all authorities responsible for violation of her rights, in particular, humiliation and harassment through bodily inspection, virginity and pregnancy tests, should be held accountable.

See more at:

Arrested for her Art, Punished for Speaking Out Against her Jailers

 

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