WHAT: Syria’s best-known cartoonist, Ali Ferzat, 60, was dragged from his car before dawn by four masked gunmen who beat him severely and broke both his hands as a warning to stop drawing Syrian autocrat Bashar al Assad.
WHY: Ferzat posted a cartoon on his website this week showing Assad with a packed suitcase, hitching a ride with fleeing Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi. The cartoonist was a vehement critic of Assad’s bloody crackdown against his people.
WHAT’S BEING DONE: As the most famous victim of the Syrian repression yet, the attack on Ferzat set off an explosion of angry postings on the nation’s social-networking websites. Posted photos showed the heavily bandaged artist in his hospital bed.