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Letter Supporting Atena

40 NGO s and over 75 international cartoonists call for leniency for Iranian cartoonist wrongfully jailed.



A letter to Iranian President Rouhani by Cartoonists Rights Network International calls for leniency for Iranian cartoonist Atena Faraghdani, who is sentenced to 12 years in jail for a cartoon:

February 22, 2016

President Hassan Rouhani

Pasteur Street, Pasteur Square

Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Your Excellency,

Our organization, 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,

Dr. Robert Russell

Executive Director, Cartoonists Rights Network International

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

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

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

International Non-Governmental Organizations

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

Reporters Sans Frontières, France

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

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


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