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In Their Own Words: Iranian cartoonist Atena Farghadani tells Amnesty International about the awful reality of her arrest and interrogation

May 16, 2017 in General

Atena Farghadani talks of her appalling treatment by the Iranian authorities

Amnesty International’s fortnightly series ‘In Their Own Words’ launched on 17th March with the story of Albert Woodfox, an American who spent 44 years in solitary confinement. Other episodes include the story of Khadjia Ismayilova, an investigative journalist from Azerbaijan who was imprisoned and framed by her own government for exposing political corruption. Then there is Steve Kelly, who became a human rights activist after his brother, Mike, was tragically killed in the Hillsborough football disaster.

The success of the first series which featured, among others, Chelsea Manning and Chen Guangcheng (voiced by Michelle Hendley and Christian Bale respectively) has resulted in a second set of broadcasts, concluding with Atena Farghadani’s story, her words voiced by UK-Iranian actress Nazanin Boniadi.

Atena’s episode is a distressing tale of a young woman being subjected to the most degrading treatment simply because she drew pictures depicting authority figures as animals.

The 30-year-old Iranian was freed one year ago after an international campaign for her release – she had been due to serve 11┬ámore years in prison – but she isn’t free of the nightmare. Atena was given a three-year suspended sentence for ‘insulting Iran’s leader’ – which means that she could still be sent back to prison at any point until May 2019. This is a common tactic to try to deter former prisoners from speaking out.

It is a testament to her courage that she will not be silenced.

Atena’s contribution to Amnesty International’s ‘In Their Own Words’ second series can be heard here.

You can also listen to the other episodes here.

3 responses to In Their Own Words: Iranian cartoonist Atena Farghadani tells Amnesty International about the awful reality of her arrest and interrogation

  1. Atena’s [and others’] experience of Iranian justice shows what a bunch of bullies and cowards make up the Iranian government.

  2. MALE bullies and cowards it should be said.

  3. It’s wonderful to see Atena continuing to create artwork despite her ordeal.

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