Syrian cartoonist beaten savagely
Syria, Politics, 8/26/2011
Reporters Without Borders reported that the famous cartoonist Ali Ferzat's torture while abducted for several hours today in Damascus and the woman journalist Hanadi Zahlout's torture while in detention are typical of the way the regime treats those who challenge its propaganda and express views different from its own.
Ferzat was subjected to several hours of hell after being abducted by masked members of the security services at around 4:30 a.m. in Omeyyades Square, in the city center, as he drove home from his office. His captors broke his left hand, which he uses to draw, and burned his body with lit cigarettes. He was finally dumped at the side of a road near the airport with a bag over his head. Some of his drawings and other personal effects were confiscated. He is currently in Al-Razi Hospital.
Aged 60, Ferzat has been very critical of President Bashar Al-Assad and his government ever since the start of the protests in March.
"In 2003, his inspiration and the insolence of his drawings led the Syrian authorities to ban his satirical magazine Al Domari, which they had permitted a few years earlier," former diplomat Ignace Leverrier wrote in his Le Monde blog today.
It has emerged that freelance journalist Hanadi Zahlout has been tortured since her arrest on 25 July. She continues to be detained.
Reporters Without Borders has meanwhile learned that Myriam Haddad, a journalist with the magazine Mouqarabat who was kidnapped from the Havana Café in central Damascus on 11 August, was released on 23 August.
The press freedom organization was not surprised to also learn that all the Internet cafés have installed software that spy on their clients' online activities. At the same time, telephone communications are now almost always cut as soon as the army enters a city.
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