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Syrian Cartoonist Youssef Abdelke Arrested

07/26/2013


CRNI has just learned that another Syrian cartoonist, Youssef Abdelke, was arrested on Thursday, 18 July 2013 along with two other friends at a security barrier outside the coastal city of Tartius, Syria. He is one of the most revered and respected of all the senior cartoonists in Syria.  While the regime has been imprisoning intellectuals such as writers, artists, cartoonists, even musicians and singers, the arrest of Abdelke marks a new low for the Bashir al-Assad regime. Recent attacks on cartoonists include Ali Ferzat who was beaten and had his hands broken on August 25, 2011, and cartoonist Akram Raslan who remains incommunicado and under arrest. Raslan was given CRNI's 2013 Award for Courage in Editorial Cartooning on June 29, 2013.   

Abdelke was one of the original 100 signatories of a document called Principles of the Revolution in 2011.  The document called for the removal of Pres. Bashir al-Assad and his senior ministers along with the establishment of an interim government under the supervision of the United Nations.   Like other artists and intellectuals imprisoned by the Bashir al-Assad regime, Abdelke is afforded no contact with his family and is denied access to legal representation. It is not clear what the specific charges against him might be.


REUTERS/ Khaled al-Hariri




Youssef Abdelke




Youssef Abdelke



Youssef Abdelke




Youssef Abdelke/ Facebook



Youssef Abdelke/ Facebook

Abdelke’s friends and family along with intellectuals and artists around the world have joined a Facebook campaign calling for his release. The Facebook page contains letters of support, news postings and a petition which already has more than 1,500 signatures. Abdelke was born in 1951 and has a degree from the faculty of fine arts in Damascus. He has a Doctorate degree from a university in France.

He lived in self exile in Paris for nearly two decades before deciding to return to Syria in 2005. He comes from a prominent dissident family, his father having been interred by the Syrian authorities in the 1960s and 1970s. Abdelke is a member of the Syrian Communist Labor Party and was also incarcerated from 1978 to 1980.

You can read more about his arrest at VOA and view his online gallery on Facebook

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