Rights groups and cartoonists ask Iranian President Rouhani to help free artist Atena Farghadani

Friday, February 26, 2016
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An unrolled cup used by Atena to make art in prison, since confiscated.

CJFE, along with the undersigned organizations and individuals, are happy to learn that as a result of the new chapter of relations with the international community, your government was able to approve the release of a number of prisoners of conscience, including The Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian. 

Building on this very positive action, we ask your excellency to start a conversation with the Judiciary to free cartoonist Atena Faraghdani who is now in prison for publishing on the Internet a symbolic cartoon. Atena has been sentenced to 12 years 9 months in prison, awaiting final verdict for the court of appeal. 

The Islamic Republic of Iran is a party to various Articles within UN International Human Rights Conventions: including Article 19 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “The right to freedom of opinion and expression,” and Articles 19, 21 and 22 of the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights mandating “The right to express an opinion and freedom of expression” and “The right to freedom of association.” 

Your excellency, you have pledged “support for the Freedom of Speech in Iran's newspapers, magazines and websites,” and Foreign Minister Zarif also noted during a TV interview that “We do not jail people for their opinions.” Many Human Rights organizations and the UN believe that arresting, charging and sentencing Atena Farghadani for such activities contravenes the above-mentioned rights. It is also of concern to the international community that her continued imprisonment contravenes the spirit of a new era of international co-operation with Iran. 

The United Nations, and other World Human Rights organizations, consider Atena Farghadani to be a prisoner of conscience, presently held for the peaceful exercise of her rights to freedom of expression and association. Being a party to the UN's International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, we would hope you could see this too. 

We hope that you are able to convince the Judiciary to reconsider her sentence on appeal, and set aside her conviction and sentence so allowing her to immediately return to her family. 

The world looks on — hoping Iran will, in good faith, free Atena Farghadani in this era of international co-operation — and in so doing prove that Iran is indeed a supporter of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, along with other internationally accepted human rights, a vital condition and component within this new era of international co-operation that we are hopefully heading towards. 

With best regards,

Cartoonists Rights Network International
ActiveWatch – Media Monitoring Agency
Arabic Network for Human Rights Information
Association for Civil Rights
Belarusian Association of Journalists
Brazilian Association for Investigative Journalism
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression
Center for Independent Journalism - Romania
Committee to Protect Journalists
Freedom Forum
Gulf Centre for Human Rights
Human Rights Network for Journalists - Uganda
International Federation of Journalists
Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance
Media Foundation for West Africa
National Union of Somali Journalists
Norwegian PEN
Observatorio Latinoamericano para la Libertad de Expresión - OLA
Pakistan Press Foundation
PEN American Center
PEN Canada
PEN International
Social Media Exchange - SMEX
South East European Network for Professionalization of Media
Vigilance pour la Démocratie et l’État Civique 
World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers

Danish PEN 
Centre Québécois du PEN international 
Comité de femmes du Centre québécois du PEN international 
English PEN 
Finnish PEN 
Kurdish PEN Centre 
San Miguel (Mexico) Centre of Pen International 
Pen International Women Writers Committee 
Pen Bangladesh 
Pen Melbourne 
Pen South Africa 
Swedish PEN Centre 

International Cartoonists 

Brian Adcock, Guardian UK 
Sahar Ajami, Norway 
Nick Anderson, Houston Chronicle, USA 
Terry Anderson, Scottish Cartoon Art Studio, Scotland 
Gary Barker, UK 
Xavier Bonilla/Bonil, Ecuador 
Rupert Besley, UK 
Steve Bright, The Sun, UK 
Carlos Brito, Portugal 
Steve Breen, San Diego Union Tribune, USA 
Bernard Bouton, president Federation of Cartooning Organizations, France 
Chris Cairns, Scotland 
Daryl Cagle, USA 
Patrick Chappatte, International New York Times 
Kate Charlesworth, UK 
Dave C. Cherry, USA 
J.D. Crowe, Alabama Media Group, USA 
Christian Daigle, Canada 
Michael de Adder, Canada 
Matt Davies, New York Newsday, USA 
Andy Davey, UK 
Vincent Deighan, (Frank Quitely) Scotland 
Steven ‘Lectrr’ Degryse, De Standaard, Belgium 
Sergii Fedko, Ukraine 
Christian Fedele, Italy 
Noel Ford, FRSA, UK 
Foundation Press and Print cartoonists, the Netherlands 
Ganzeer, Egypt 
Scott Griffin, USA 
Fadi Abou Hassan, Norway 
Graham Harrop, Canada 
David Horsey, Los Angeles Times, USA 
Steve Jonesy, UK 
Kal Kallaugher, The Economist, USA 
Vladimir Kazanevsky, Ukraine 
Nik Kowsar, Canada 
Graeme MacKay, Hamilton Spectator, Canada 
Lewis MacKenzie, Scotland 
Bruce MacKinnon, Halifax Chronicle Herald, Canada 
Ferran Martin, Catalonia, Spain 
Josko Marusic, Croatia 
Rick McKee, The Augusta Chronicle, USA 
Kanika Mishra, India 
Pedro Molina, Nicaragua 
Greg Moodie, The National, Scotland 
Terry Mosher/Aislin, Canada 
Dan Murphy, Canada 
Francis Odupute, Nigeria Observer, Nigeria 
Jack Ohman, Sacramento Bee, USA 
Geoff Olson, Canada 
David Parkins, USA 
Stephan Pastis, Pearls Before Swine, USA 
Mike Peters, Mother Goose and Grimm, USA 
Joel Pett, Lexington Herald-Leader, USA 
Marlene Pohle, Argentina 
Michael Ramirez, Investors Business Daily, USA 
Hajo de Reijger, Netherlands 
Rob Rogers, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, USA 
David Rowe, Australia Financial Review 
Martin Rowson, The Guardian, UK 
Tjeerd Royaards, Cartoon Movement, Netherlands 
Cristina Sampaio, Portugal 
Miguel Villalba Sánchez “Elchicotriste”, Spain 
Kevin Siers, Charlotte Observer, USA 
Jen Sorensen, USA 
Scott Stantis, Chicago Tribune, USA 
Bill Stott, Chair, Professional Cartoonists’ Organization, UK 
Manos Symeonakis, Cartoon Movement, Netherlands 
Ann Telnaes, The Washington Post, USA 
Adán Iglesias Toledo, Cuba 
Tom Toles, The Washington Post, USA 
Zach Trenholm, USA 
Wes Tyrell, President of the Canadian Association of Ed Cartoonists 
Shan Wells, Durango Telegraph, USA 
Signe Wilkinson, Philly Daily News and Philadelphia Inquirer, USA 
Karl Wimer, USA 
Matt Wuerker, POLITICO, USA 
Zunar, Malaysia 
Adam Zyglis, Buffalo News, USA 

Friends of Cartoonists 

Jean Schulz, Charles M. Schulz Museum, USA 
Mehdi Amini, Afghanistan 
Carol Lange, USA 
Drew Rougier-Chapman, USA 
Chris Bliss, MyBillofRights.com, USA 
Will Durst, Durstco, USA 
Mark McKinney, Miami University, USA 
Carl Nelson, USA 
Joan Mower, Voice of America, USA 
Ambassador Cynthia Schneider, USA 
Zeina Zahreddine, Canada 

This letter of concern was sent to President Hassan Rouhani of the Republic of Iran.

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