Amnesty International has devoted a lot of their campaigns to highlighting the unfair treatment of women in various parts of the world. This week, they are calling attention to two female activists who were recently given unnecessarily harsh sentences for what could only be described as “peaceful activism.” Atena Farghadani was sentenced to 12 years in prison, while Atena Daemi was sentenced to 10. Both sentences are much, much longer than the maximum punishment for peaceful activism.
According to Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa:
“Atena Farghadani has effectively been punished for her cartoons with a sentence that is itself a gross caricature of justice. No one should be in jail for their art or peaceful activism. Such harsh and unjust sentences seem to be part of a disturbing trend in Iran, where the cost of voicing peaceful dissent is escalating, with punishments even worse than those issued in the post-2009 election crackdown.”
Farghadani’s supposed crimes include “spreading propaganda against the system” and “insulting the supreme leader of Iran.” She created an art exhibit that memorialized those killed during the conflict following the 2009 election. She also created some satirical cartoons, which portrayed legislators in a negative light.
Daemi, on the other hand, is an adamant anti-death penalty activist, and took to Twitter and Facebook to spread the word for her cause. Her trial was only 15 minutes long, and she was given an extra-harsh sentence for failing to implicate her friends in crimes of conscience as well.
Both of these women should be freed. Everyone in the world should have the right to express their opinions and to fight for causes they believe in, as long as they are doing so peacefully. If these two women were given harsher sentences simply for being women, that is exactly the kind of human rights violation Amnesty International is trying to combat.
For more information and to find out how you can help these women, click here: