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Atena Farghadani Goes on Trial Tomorrow in Iran for Her Cartoon About Access to Contraception

Atena Farghadani stands trial on Tuesday May 18 for charge that include insulting members of parliament and spreading propaganda against the system. Image taken from the 'Free Atena' Facebook page.

Atena Farghadani stands trial on Tuesday, May 19 for charges that include insulting members of parliament and spreading propaganda against the system. Image taken from the ‘Free Atena’ Facebook page.

Activist and artist Atena Farghadani is scheduled to stand trial on Tuesday, May 19 for a cartoon that criticized the Iranian government. The 28-year-old faces charges of spreading propaganda against the system; insulting members of parliament through paintings; and insulting the supreme leader.

The image that led to her arrest depicts Iran's members of parliament as animals voting on law that will restrict access to contraception and criminalise voluntary sterilisation, severely curtailing women's rights.

Her initial arrest came in August 2014, when she was held in solitary confinement for prolonged periods of time in Evin prison. She was released in December, but was detained again after publicly discussing her mistreatment by the prison guards.

Athena's cartoon depicting members of the Iranian parliament as animals voting on the prohibition of voluntary permanent contraception, or vasectomies. Image taken from ‘Free Atena’ Facebook page.

Three weeks after her second confinement, Atena went on a hunger strike to protest the poor prison conditions, which her lawyer told Amnesty International resulted in her heart attack and brief loss of consciousness in February. Amnesty International has reported Atena has since been moved to another detention centre and stopped her hunger strike, but advocates remain concerned about her health.

Amnesty International is leading a call to action here, while the hashtag #freeAtena is being used to raise support and awareness on social media.

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