Dead or ALive! Syrian cartoonist Akram Raslan

This post is originally posted on Global Voices Online by the author.

Uncertainty continues over the fate of Syrian cartoonist Akram Raslan, winner of the Award for Courage in Editorial Cartooning for 2013, arrested in October 2012 by the Assad regime. While some report that he was killed by the Assad regime after a show trial, others claim he is still alive.

The cartoonist was was arrested by the Syrian military intelligence, while he was at the government newspaper Al-Fedaa in Hama, on October 2, 2012. Akram, who is the winner of the Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI) Award for Courage in Editorial Cartooning for 2013, was reportedly secretly put on trial with no witnesses, no defense attorneys, no appeal, and no hope for justice.

We’ve learned that on July 26, 2013 Akram Raslan and other prisoners of conscience including journalists, artists, singers and other intellectuals were secretly put on trial with no witnesses, no defense attorneys, no appeal, and no hope for justice.  From unconfirmed and sketchy reports we also learned that they were all condemned to life imprisonment.

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Assembly and demonstration by world cartoonists in support of Akram Raslan
05.10.2013, in St Just Le Martel (France). Source: Cartooning for Peace

Other cartoon blogs like Comic box resources blog, Cartoon for Peace, The CAGLE Post and The Daily Cartoonist also quoted the CRNI news and showed concerns over Akram’s destiny. One of the comments reads:

Akram, you and your family are in our prayers….Assad you and your ilk are….. !@#$%^&*

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Source: Facebook page [ar] Detainees and kidnapped are not just numbers in reports. Used under CC BY 2.0

On October 18, 2013, Redac_MM wrote: A Brave Cartoonist is Murdered by the Syrian Regime

I am saddened to write that Cartoonists Rights Network reports that Syrian cartoonist Akram Raslan has been executed by the Syrian regime after a show trial.

While Syrian Observer quoted a stronger message: Here There Be Dragons: in Syria Akram Raslan is slain:

Tyrants might be able to fight off criticism or an insurrection or even assassination attempt with truncheons, bullets and terror.  But where do they turn their guns to stop their people from laughing at them?  Can there be any more efficient, more powerful, and cost-effective way of empowering a people than dispelling their fears with a courageous cartoon on its way to letting them laugh through their fear? 

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One of Akram’s cartoons that outraged Assad regime. Source: Blog Cartoon Movement. Used under CC BY 2.0

On Twitter, Rime Allaf writes:

On Facebook, Alisar Iram shows solidarity:

Akram Raslan, dead or alive, we remember and cherish you.

While the Syrian Observer concludes with regret and hope at the same time:

I am sorry I couldn’t reach down into the pit and drag you out Akram. Please forgive me. Perhaps your sacrifice will motivate us to look again into the mirror, and ask again where we straddle the line between fear and courage and challenge us, again, to take a new first step.

About Rami Alhames

I'm a Syrian Brazilian, Freelance Translator and Social media contributor @GlobalVoices @GVinArabic, Meedan, in Portuguese, Arabic and English.
This entry was posted in Arab Spring, Arabic, Cartoon, Crises, Culture & Life, English, Photos and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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