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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Syria arrests artist in crackdown

At least 11 people have already been detained for attending an opposition meeting [GALLO/GETTY
Talal Abu Dan, a prominent Syrian artist, has been arrested in the latest crackdown against opposition activists, a rights group said.

"The painter and activist Talal Abu Dan was summoned by the security services in Aleppo [on Wednesday] and has not reappeared since," Ammar Qorabi, the National Organisation for Human Rights chief in Syria said.

Abu Dan was transported to Damascus, where the authorities were holding a number of dissidents on national security charges for attending an opposition meeting in the Syrian capital in December, Qorabi said in a statement on Thursday.

At least 11 people, including Riad Seif, a former MP, have already been detained for attending a meeting of the National Council of the Damascus Declaration, which calls for radical democratic change in Syria.

"Abu Dan's studio in Aleppo was ransacked on January 21 and paintings and canvases were all destroyed," Qorabi said.

Abu Dan, 55, married with three children, is a former political prisoner who spent over 10 years behind bars for belonging to a communist party banned in Syria.


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