Syrian cartoonist severely beaten
The well-known Syrian cartoonist Ali Fermat was severely beaten and abducted in Damascus Thursday night, according to Syrian activists.
Masked security agents took Mr Farzat from his car as he made his way home from his office. Papers and drawings that he had with him were also confiscated. A spokesman for a local activist committee, Omar Abalba, told the French news agency AFP that security agents behaved like ‘organized criminals’ when they took Mr Ferzat from his car and beat him, particularly trying to injure his hands. A short while later, Mr Ferzat was found along the side of the road leading to the airport, and is now recuperating in Al Razi Hospital. Dutch award Ali Ferzat 1951 is one of the Arab world's most renowned cartoonists. He has won a number of awards, including the Dutch Prince Claus Award in 2002. In 2001, he published Domari, the first independent newspaper in Syria since 1963. But authorities reversed their decision and closed the newspaper down in 2003. Christa Meindersma, the director of the Prins Claus Fund for Culture and Development, told RNW “It’s horrible that this has happened to him. We are trying to get in touch with him at the hospital to find out how he is doing, but we are very concerned. He was clearly targeted for who he is -- one of Syria’s most courageous figures.” Mr Ferzat has published cartoons critical of the Syrian regime since the start of the recent uprising.
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