Atena Farghadani (right) and her mother celebrate
Iranian artists Atena Farghadani and Hadi Heidari have been released
Atena Farghadani was freed from Evin prison on Tuesday, May 3, 2016. Speaking to CRNI, Ms. Farghadani expressed her utmost appreciation of Cartoonists Rights Network International and all organizations, cartoonists and activists who have supported her throughout her incarceration and given a voice to her and her cause. She also pointed out that although she’s happy to be free, she is also concerned about all of the unknown prisoners who have no supporters.
Cartoon posted by Hadi after his release © Hadi Heidari
Iranian cartoonist Hadi Heidari has also been been released. Mr. Heidari had been arrested by government agents on November 16, 2015, at the offices at the reformist newspaper, Shahrvand. The cartoonist was taken into custody after a judge ordered Hadeiri to serve the balance of a 2013 suspended sentence stemming from a cartoon deemed anti-state. Heidari’s November arrest came shortly after he posted a cartoon in response to the Paris terrorist attacks which was shared around the world.
A joyous reunion: Hadi Heidari with his daughter
Footnote: Meanwhile Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani called for more freedom of expression and said government critics should not be jailed – just as three other journalists were taken into custody on charges of “spreading propaganda against the ruling system, conspiring against officials and insulting authorities.”
Sadly, it appears the release of the two artists has not yet signalled the arrival of true freedom of expression in Iran. The struggle continues…