Monday, November 23, 2015

Iranian Cartoonist Behind Iconic Image After Paris Attacks Imprisoned

It's been a week since Hadi Heidari, a cartoonist at the Shahrvand newspaper, was arrested by Iranian authorities as part of its crackdown on on free expression.


Hadi Heidari, a cartoonist at the Shahrvand newspaper, was arrested on Monday and sent to Tehran's Evin prison, his lawyer told Reuters in a telephone interview from Tehran. 
"He was convicted two years ago for his cartoons and was sentenced to one year in jail. The authorities had a different interpretation of his cartoons than he had," the lawyer, Saleh Nikbakht, said. Heidari had served about a month of the original sentence, Nikbakht said. 
The Tasnim news agency, which is close to the hard-line Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), said Heidari had telephoned his family from prison and told them his arrest stemmed from the original conviction. 
It was not immediately clear why Heidari had been re-arrested. Hardliners have accused other recently arrested journalists of being part of an "infiltration network" linked to hostile foreign powers.

From Newsweek:

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, an independent human rights group, said two of Heidari’s co-workers confirmed that “a young man came with a warrant. He showed Hadi the warrant, and they took him quietly.” The reasons for Heidari’s arrest remain unknown, although he was arrested in 2009 after encouraging the release of political prisoners, The New York Timesreports, and was arrested again in December 2010 for creating “propaganda against the state.” 
Heidari’s cartoon has been shared alongside the now iconic drawing by French designer Jean Jullien of the Eiffel Tower inside a circle, creating a peace sign, that has become a symbol of solidarity with France and the victims of the attacks. Heidari also created a cartoon to represent the twin suicide bombings in Beirut last week that killed 44 people, by drawing a blood-stained Lebanese flag with birds flying from the green tree at the flag’s center. 
Responsibility for the Paris and Beirut attacks has been claimed by the Islamic State militant group (ISIS). Iran has condemned both attacks.

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