Iranian woman jailed for 12 years for drawing satirical cartoons

London, June 3 (IANS) A Tehran court has sentenced a woman artist to 12 years in prison for drawing satirical cartoons of Iran’s parliamentarians who approved restricting women’s access to birth control, media reported on Wednesday.

Atena Farghadani was on trial at Tehran’s Revolutionary Court for “insulting members of parliament through paintings” in relation to an illustration depicting government officials as animals, the Daily Mail reported.

The trial was held on May 19 but Farghadani only received the verdict and prison sentence earlier this week.

Although the 28-year-old has been given 12 years and nine months in jail, experts believe this far exceeds the maximum legal limit for such a crime, which currently stands at seven years and six months.

According to a report by Amnesty International, the guards burst into her home, blindfolded her, seized her personal belongings and then hauled her off to jail.

Farghadani was held in solitary confinement at Tehran’s Evin prison since her arrest last August and was only allowed to receive one visitor a week.

She was bailed for a short time in last November, but was quickly returned to jail after being accused of openly discussing the torture and beatings she suffered at the hands of the wardens.

The judge who handed down the harsh prison sentence, Abolghassem Salavati, is known as “Iran’s hanging judge” or “the judge of death” in his country due to his reputation for handing down harsh punishments.

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