Iranwire – The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has urged Iranian authorities to release a cartoonist arrested earlier this week on unknown charges and to stop their “unabated efforts to silence commentators and members of the press.”
“Iranian authorities must release cartoonist Atena Farghadani immediately and unconditionally,” Sherif Mansour, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator, said in a statement.
“This cycling of journalists and commentators through prison is a continuation of authorities’ long-standing revolving door policy and a hallmark of Iran’s failure to respect the rule of law,” he added.
Farghadani was arrested at Tehran’s Evin Prison on June 7 after she responded to a summons to appear at the prison’s courthouse, according to her lawyer Mohammad Moghim.
Earlier that day, she published on her Instagram account a satirical political cartoon of people with animal and satanic faces. Farghadani wrote in the caption that she made the piece “in the privacy of my own home” and that it did not involve “the Islamic Republic and its agents.”
It remains unclear why the cartoonist was summoned and arrested or whether she had been formally charged.
In 2015, Farghadani was sentenced to 12 years and nine months in prison for “assembly and collusion against national security” for a cartoon depicting parliament members as animals. Authorities released her in May 2016, before the end of her sentence.
The same year, Cartoonist Rights Network International honored her with its Courage in Editorial Cartooning award.
Since mid-April, Iran authorities have arrested at least four journalists, according to CPJ.