Satirical cartoonist Atena Farghadani and her lawyer will be on trial on the charge of “illegitimate sexual relations falling short of adultery” after they shook hands in their meeting. Atena Farghadani and her lawyer Mohammad Moghimi may face up to 99 lashes if found guilty!
Amnesty International believes Farghdani has been detained solely for exercising her right to freedom of expression. “It is clearly both absurd and a violation of the right to privacy to consider a man and a woman shaking hands as a criminal offence,” said Raha Bahreini, Amnesty International’s researcher.
“These charges are politically motivated and they are a blatant attempt by the Iranian authorities to harass Atena and hinder her lawyer’s work representing her. Instead of subjecting this young prisoner of conscience to further harassment and intimidation, the Iranian authorities must immediately and unconditionally drop these charges and free her.”
Amnesty International has learnt that Atena Farghadani is going to tomorrow’s hearing without having secured a lawyer of her own choice and fears that she won’t receive a fair trial.
Atena Farghadani and Mohammad Moghimi were charged with “illegitimate sexual relations short of adultery” after they shook hands in prison after her trial on 13 June. Mr. Moghimi was arrested, and released three days later after he had paid a bail amounting to around $60,000.
In June, Atena Farghdani was sentenced to 12 years and nine months in prison for multiple offences including insulting MPs and its Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei after publishing a series of satirical cartoons depicting legislators as monkeys, cows and other animals.
Her conviction also stemmed from her speaking out publicly on the rights of the families of victims of the massive crackdown following 2009 presidential elections in Iran.
(Amnesty International- October 2, 2015)