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Syrian Cartoonist Ali Ferzat Brutalized

08/26/2011

Cartoonist Rights Network International condemns in the strongest possible terms the vicious attack against Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat.  Early in the morning of August 25, 2011, the sixty-year-old cartoonist was dragged from his car by four heavily armed thugs and severely beaten.  Before the thugs finished their assault, they said, "This is just a warning.  We will break your hands so that you'll stop drawing."  They then severely injured both hands and broke his drawing hand.  This is a disturbing addition to the kinds of brutality the Assad regime is employing against media professionals who are trying to keep the public informed on the important issues of the day.  Ferzat is currently in a Syrian hospital with heavily bandaged hands and with stitches over one eye.  


Ali Ferzat is one of the Middle East's most respected and widely read editorial cartooonists.  Lately he has been pushing the envelope of censorship as the Arab Spring has opened up new opportunities for inter-Arab communication.  He recently published a cartoon of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad hitchhiking along the road, desperately trying to get a lift from Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi who is recklessless driving a car.  In many countries in the Middle East directly depicting the head of state in a cartoon has traditionally been very risky.  

The BBC News reports that over 2,200 people have been killed in demonstrations in Syria since mid-March when the uprising in Syria began.  To read more about Syria and the assault on Ali Ferzat, click on Syria Unrest: Famed Cartoonist Ali Ferzat 'Beaten' from the BBC News.  To see more of Ali's work, go to Ali Ferzat's Website and click on the image of an ink pen in the right hand column.