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Political cartoonist Drawings from the edge of death

As a political refugee in Switzerland, Hani Abbas chose exile to escape Syrian security forces. Many of his fellow cartoonists and journalists had been assassinated, imprisoned or tortured.

Abbas was born in 1977 in Yarmouk, a large Palestinian refugee camp in the suburbs of the Syrian capital of Damascus.

After completing his studies in education and psychology at the University of Damascus in 1998, he began to paint and publish cartoons in a variety of Arab media.

His work won him the admiration of the public, criticism and several awards. Abbas won the 2014 International Editorial Cartoon Prize, received in Geneva, and took second place in the 2013 World Press Freedom Cartoon Contest in Doha, Qatar.

Having been the target of personal threats since the outbreak of the Syrian revolution in March 2011, Abbas moved to Daraa in southern Syria, where he worked under another name for the satellite television channel Al-Jazeera.

Following the sudden disappearance of his two closest colleagues, who were tortured to death by the security forces of the regime, Abbas took advantage of the countrywide chaos and managed to cross the border into Lebanon with his family. Once again threatened, he was finally able to leave Beirut for Geneva at the end of 2013.

(Images: Hani Abbas, Text: Abdelhafidh Abdeleli, swissinfo.ch).