Ali Ferzat, a prominent Syrian cartoonist, has been beaten by security forces, according to activists.
The dissident artist is one of the most famous cultural figures in the Arab world, with his drawings criticising the corruption of the Syrian regime, and others across the Middle East. Pushing the boundaries of freedom of expression in Syria, he even received a death threat from the former Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein. More recently, he has turned his attention to the uprising.
In the early hours of Thursday, a group of masked men forced him into a van. According to relatives, Ferzat’s attackers broke both his hands, telling him that it was a “warning”, before leaving him by the roadside.
According to a tweet, this was the last cartoon he drew before being attacked:
Here is a montage of some of Ferzat’s other cartoons:
This is just the latest in a series of episodes of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime attempting to quash dissent. Several artists, writers and actors have been arrested in recent weeks. Last month, Ibrahim al-Qashoush, the composer of a popular anti-regime song, was found dead with his vocal chords removed.
The UN says more than 2,200 people have been killed as security forces crack down on anti-government protests that began in mid-March.