Cartoonists Rights Network International condemns Ali Fersat beating

The Cartoonists Rights Network International has also issued a statement condemning the brutal attack on Syrican cartoonists Ali Fersat whose hands were broken by pro-Assad thugs.

Here is their statement in full:

Cartoonists Rights Network International condemns in the strongest possible terms the vicious attack against. Syrian cartoonist Ali Fersat. On the morning of Thursday 25 August 2011, Syrian editorial cartoonist Ali Ferzat (age 60) was dragged from his car by four heavily-armed thugs and severely beaten. Before they finished, the thugs stood over him and announced that this would prevent him from drawing any more disrespectful cartoons and then they broke both of Ferzat’s hands. This is a new twist on the kind of brutality the Assad regime is using against its critics. While estimates say that as many as 2000 demonstrators have been killed in the Syrian edition of the Arab Spring, this was an act of destroying a person who helps the public know what to think.

Since mid-March, Syrian Pres. Basheer al-Assad has been fighting off calls for his resignation. The demonstrations against his regime have turned bloody and violent.Ferzat is one of the Middle East’s most respected and widely-read editorial cartoonists who has lately been pushing the envelope of censorship in Syria as the Arab Spring opens up new opportunities for inter-Arab communication. Right now, he is in a Syrian hospital with heavily-bandaged hands and stitches over one eye.

Ferzat recently published a cartoon showing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad hitchhiking along the road, desperately trying to get a lift from a car recklessly driven by Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi. The Cartoonists Rights Network International calls on cartoonists all over the world, to express their feelings about the attack on Ali Ferzat and the kind of regime that ordered it. They should inform their editors and publishers about the story, pointing out that the extra insult of smashing this journalist hands is deeply troubling.

Cartoonists Rights Network International calls on the regime of Pres. Assad to arrest and bring to justice the four henchmen who attacked this creative journalist.

When contacted for a statement cartoonists rights network international president, Joel Pett said, “This utterly cowardly and despicable act of thuggery deserves a strong response. The thoughts and prayers of cartoonists around the globe are with our brother Ali and his family.”