#Human Rights
United Nations, Ban ki-Moon, Arab League, Navi Pillay, UN High Commisoner on Human Rights, HRW

Youssef Abdelke (Arabic يوسف عبدلكي) is one of Syria’s leading artists. A respected engraver and master draftsman, he is a great observer of living phenomena, and while he is precise and methodical in his approach, there is also a poetic side to his work.

With an extensive oeuvre that has been decades in the making, his subject matter has ranged from highly political social satire to meditative still-lives. As such his work has been influential to a number of young and emerging artists in the Arab world.

On July 19, 2013, the Syrian regime forces arrested Yousef Ebdalki after he signed a declaration calling for the departure of President Bashar al-Assad. In particular, the petition, which he signed mere hours before being arrested, offered “support to the forces of the revolution who advocate the establishment of a pluralistic democracy” and expressed “desire for a peaceful solution to stop the bloodshed and to preserve national unity and territorial integrity which involves the departure of Bashar al-Assad and pillars of his regime.”

He had been arrested once before by the regime, in 1978.

Salah Barakat, a friend of Abdelke’s, wrote: “This is somebody who believes so much in Syria that he refused any other nationality, and the first minute he was able to come back he came back. This is nationalism, this is belief in his own culture, and we wanted to stand by him.”

According to his wife, “[He] was keen to stay in Damascus in recent years, despite the difficulties of daily life and the dangers of surviving under a regime with an unlimited capacity for violence.”

We, the undersigned, demand that the international community at all levels bring all possible pressure to bear upon the Assad regime in Syria to IMMEDIATELY and UNCONDTIONALLY free Syrian artist Youssef Abdelke.

He is a prisoner of conscience arrested solely for peacefully exercising his rights to free expression, and his continued detention is illegal under international human rights treaties and covenants.

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The Free Imprisoned Syrian Artist Yousef Abdelke petition to United Nations, Ban ki-Moon, Arab League, Navi Pillay, UN High Commisoner on Human Rights, HRW was written by John S. Burke and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.