Draw a picture of parliament members as animals, go to prison for 13 years: Iran

A 28-year-old Iranian artist and activist has been sentenced to 12 years and nine in prison for making monkeys out of Iranian leaders. Tehran’s Revolutionary Court (which doesn't use juries) ruled that Atena Farghadani crimes included “insulting members of parliament through paintings” and “spreading propaganda against the system.”

One political cartoonist particularly knowledgeable about her plight is Iranian American artist Nikahang Kowsar. Now a CRNI board member based in the Washington area, Kowsar was jailed in his native Iran 15 years ago for his cartoons critical of the country’s leaders.

“Atena is being punished for something many of us have been doing in Iran: drawing politicians as animals, without naming them,” Kowsar tells The Post’s Comic Riffs. “Of course, I drew a crocodile and made a name that rhymed with the name of powerful Ayatollah, and caused a national security crisis in 2000. What Atena drew was just an innocent take on what the parliamentarians are doing, and based on the Iranian culture, monkeys are considered the followers and imitators, [and] cows are the stupid ones.

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  1. So they're really plants?

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