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Cartoonist Ali Farzat at Hospital
Cartoonist Ali Farzat at Hospital

Syrian Cartoonist Hospitalized after being Beaten up by Gunmen

(Dp-news)

DAMASCUS- Anonymous Masked gunmen dragged Syria's best-known political cartoonist Ali Farzat from his car early at dawn on Thursday. They brutally beat him, and then they kidnapped him before they dropped him, after a couple of hours at Damascus International Airport Highway bleeding along the side of the road.

Activists online rushed to arrange campaigns along with pages on social media, Facebook, to refute the attack and also to show support for Farzat. In turn, news and reports said that Ali Farzat appears to have become the most famous victim of the repression of Syria's 5-month uprising — a stark reminder that no Syrian is immune to the government crackdown.



Associated Press reported that Ferzat has been hospitalized with serious injuries.

Passers-by found Ferzat "heavily beaten and physically abused," said Omar Idilbi, a spokesman for the Local Coordination Committees, an activist group that helps organize and track the uprising. Pictures published on online forums Thursday showed the artist in a hospital bed with heavily bandaged hands and a bandage right above his right eye.
According to AP report “Idilbi blamed security forces for the attack,” although Rami Abdul-Rahman, head of the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the identity of the attackers could not be confirmed.

Ferzat has said he had great hopes for President Bashar al-Assad when he became president in 2000 after his late father. But in recent years Ferzat has become a vehement critic of the regime, particularly as the military launches a brutal crackdown on the country's protest movement.
This week, he published a cartoon on his website showing Syrian President with a packed suitcase, hitch-hiking a ride with a fleeing Muamar Gadhafi. Many of his cartoons directly criticize President al-Assad, even though caricatures of the president are forbidden in Syria.
"There are two things in this life that cannot be crushed — the will of God and the will of the people," Ferzat told The Associated Press this month during a telephone interview from Damascus.

Ferzat benefited from President al-Assad's moves to open up society in Syria during a period that came to be known as the Damascus Spring. Shortly after al-Assad came to presidency, he allowed Farzat to publish the country's first private newspaper in decades.
The satirical weekly Al-Domari — or The Lamplighter — was an instant hit, with copies of each issue selling out just few hours after hitting the stands. It was soon shut down; however, as President al-Assad`s regime began cracking down on dissent after the Damascus Spring quickly lost steam.

Human rights groups said Syrian regime's forces have killed more than 2,000 people since the uprising against Syrian regime autocratic rule erupted in mid-March, touched off by the wave of revolutions sweeping the Arab world.

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Freedom of expression
Jayeed mohamaad            8/28/2011 11:06:34 PM
Freedom of expression a right to all
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