Syrian cartoonist Akram Raslan, who was taken into custody by agents of the government of Bashir al-Assad at the Al-Fida newspaper offices in the city of Hama in October, 2012, has been reported dead by the Damascus-based news service Souriatna.
Based on testimony attributed to fellow prisoner F.Y., Akram Raslan died in a jail hospital sometime in the spring of 2013, his frail condition possibly a result of torture.
Palestinian cartoonist Fadi Abou Hassan, who knew and worked with Akram Raslan in Syria, told Cartoon Movement that his friend was one of the bravest cartoonists in the country. “His works were known for being very direct in opposing the Syrian regime and its head. He was publishing from Syria through Arabic journals and websites, he stood by the Syrian revolution since the very first day, Raslan drew more than 300 cartoons that accompanied the early developments of the Syrian revolution.”
Akram Raslan was given, in absentia, CRNI’s Courage in Editorial Cartooning award in 2013. At that time, cartoonist Joel Pett said: “CRNI gives Akram Raslan our annual Award for Courage in Editorial Cartooning in recognition of his extraordinary courage in confronting the forces of violence with cartoons that told only the truth.”
On news of Akram Raslan’s death, cartoonist Mohammad Saba’aneh said: “He proved to the world that freedom is a very important value … [and he fought] for it even when the price was his blood.”
Akram Raslan was born in Souran, in northern Syria, in 1978.