Syrian artist Youssef Abdelke
The wife of Syrian artist Youssef Abdelke, whose work hangs in exhibitions around the world, called for his release on Saturday after his arrest by regime security forces.
Abdelke's friends and family have rallied around his wife Hala Alabdalla, herself a film-maker, and launched a campaign on Facebook calling for his release from jail.
"His detention may be a small thing when compared to the bloody violence and destruction [gripping Syria] but it's still unacceptable," Alabdalla told AFP.
Syrian security bodies arrested the Syrian artist along with his companions Tawfiq Omran and Adnan al-Dibs at a checkpoint outside the coastal town Tartous on Thursday. The three men, all members of the opposition Communist Labour Party, were taken to an unknown location.
Abdelke was one of 100 Syrian intellectuals who signed a statement reiterating their commitment to the principles of the uprising which began in Syria in 2011, which it listed as ? freedom, dignity, social justice and ?national unity. The declaration also emphasised the importance of Syrian autonomy and expressed condemnation of Syria being dragged into a regional conflict. The signatories called for the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad and the formation of an interim government overseen by the UN.?
It is not yet known whether the statement was the reason for Abdelke’s arrest. ?
The left-wing artist was born in the northern town of Qamishli in 1951. He graduated from the ?Faculty of Fine Arts in Damascus in 1976, and went on to study in France, earning his PhD at the ?University of Paris VIII in 1989. ?Exiled by the Syrian regime, Abdelke stayed in France for around two decades, but had returned to Damascus protests erupted in Syria in 2011.
Additional reporting: AFP