A Revolutionary Court in Tehran has sentenced artist and civil rights activist Atena Faraghdani to a total of 12.5 years in prison for drawings and content critical of the government that the young activist posted on her Facebook page.
The activist’s charges are “assembly and collusion against national security,” “propaganda against the state,” and “insulting the Supreme Leader, the President, Members of the Parliament, and the IRGC [Revolutionary Guards] Ward 2-A agents” who interrogated her.
Following five months inside Gharchak and Evin Prisons, Faraghdani was tried at Branch 15 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court under Judge Salavati, a notorious judge who is consistently handpicked to preside over “national security” cases that security and intelligence organizations bring against political and civil activists, because of the harsh and maximum sentences he imposes. Salavati is the judge presiding over the trial of the Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian.
Security agents arrested the painter and civil activist Atena Faraghdani on August 24, 2014, and transferred her to IRGC’s Ward 2-A inside Evin Prison. She was released on bail on November 2, 2014. She published a video of herself, in which she spoke about an incident of aggressive strip search by female prison guards inside a solitary cell at Evin Prison. She said in the video that she had been ordered to take off her clothes, which she had refused. The video was widely viewed and discussed on social networks.
After the video was published, she was summoned to Branch 15 of Tehran Revolutionary Court on January 10, 2015, arrested, and transferred to Gharchak Prison in Varamin, outside Tehran.
Atena Faraghdani embarked on a hunger strike to protest her transfer to the deplorable Gharchak Prison, where political prisoners are not separated from hardened criminals, in violation of the principle of the separation of prisoners.
After her health deteriorated severely and she was transferred to a hospital on February 26, 2015, judicial authorities ordered her transfer back to Evin Prison on March 2, where she has been ever since.