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Emad is FREE

Updated 12:00pm 8/30/20: Cagle Cartoonist Emad Hajjaj was freed last night. His case was downgraded from terrorism and the military court to the Amman prosecutor, but he still faces trial and up to two years in prison for “slander and libel” according to an article in the Times of Israel

Emad’s home newspaper Al-Araby has an article about Emad’s release and Human Rights Watch director, Joe Stork, “Calling a satirical cartoon a terrorism offence only confirms that Jordan intends to muzzle citizens who speak freely,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at the New York-based watchdog. “This arrest sends the message that Jordanian authorities would rather abuse the rights of their own citizens than risk offending a gulf leader’s feelings,” he added.

Emad’s cartoonist brother, Osama Hajjaj, who we also syndicate, sent me these photos of Emad just after his release.

Quoting from the Times of Israel article: “The decision to release Hajjaj came after the state security court prosecutor decided to change the accusation against him to slander and libel, and his case has been sent back to the Amman state prosecutor,” the judicial source said.

Rakan Saaydeh, the head of the country’s journalists’ union, confirmed the release and the new charges as (they) took custody of Hajjaj from the Balqa jail just northwest of Amman on Sunday.

“He will now appear before the Amman prosecution,” not the state security court, a military tribunal that deals with terrorism-related cases, Saaydeh told reporters.

It was not clear when his trial would begin.”

I’ll post more when I get more. Read more about Emad’s cartoon that got him thrown into prison on my blog.

 


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Cagle Cartoonist Emad Hajjaj Arrested, Faces 5 Years in Prison

Update 8/30/20: Emad is freed. He still faces trial and a possible two years in prison for his cartoon. Read more here.

My friend and longtime CagleCartoonist Emad Hajjaj was arrested Wednesday in his home country of Jordan. He is charged with the “cybercrime” of “insulting an Arab country” and faces up to five years in prison for drawing an “offensive” cartoon criticizing Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed of the United Arab Emirates. Emad was arrested five hours after posting the cartoon to his newspaper site.

CagleCartoons.com has syndicated Emad’s work to newspapers in America and around the world for the past fifteen years. He is a dear friend of mine and of many of the CagleCartoonists who have partied with Emad on our annual trips to the cartoon festival in St Just le Martel, France.  Emad is the president of the Jordanian Cartoonists Association and cartoonists in Jordan have been protesting Emad’s arrest.

Emad was arrested just five hours after posting the cartoon to his newspaper’s Web site. Emad draws for the Al- Araby newspaper in London which has posted an article about his arrest. (Al-Araby is a longtime subscriber to CagleCartoons.com.)

Emad’s brother Osama Hajjaj, who is also an editorial cartoonist that CagleCartoons.com syndicates, sent me a photo of Emad’s arrest.

Emad’s cartoon depicts UAE leader, Crown Prince Muhammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan, commonly called “MBZ”, holding an Israeli dove that has spit on his face, with the spittle in the shape of a US F-35 fighter jet and labeled “spit 35” in Arabic. The US recently brokered a treaty between Israel and the UAE, and in a separate but possibly related deal the US agreed to sell advanced F-35 jets to the UAE. Israel is opposing the sale, arguing that Israel’s defense advantage in the region would be compromised if UAE gets the jets. Emad’s drawing shows that Israel has embarrassed MBZ by blocking the sale after UAE agreed to the peace deal

Al-Araby writes that Emad was referred to the “notorious State Security Court” by Amman’s Attorney General. “The SSC – whose judges are appointed by the prime minister – has jurisdiction over crimes including drugs, explosives, weapons, espionage and high treason, however it has increasingly been used to try peaceful protesters and government critics.”

“The country’s infamous 2015 cybercrimes law was widely criticized by rights groups, who say it is a pretext to crack down on any individual who criticizes the government. Amendments added to the law in 2018 also made the distribution of articles considered slanderous punishable with a prison sentence.”

Emad is being held in jail for up to fourteen days, pending the conclusion of an investigation, after that Emad may face charges and a possible five year prison sentence.

UPDATED 8/27/20 1:00pm PDT:  According to a Committee to Protect Journalists article quoting the Center for Defending the Freedom of Journalists director, Nidal Mansour, Emad was brought to the prosecutor’s office today and charged with “disturbing relations with a sister country” under the country’s counter-terrorism law,” “If convicted, Hajjaj could face a minimum of 10 years hard labor, according to 2014 amendments to the counter-terrorism law.” “The public prosecutor’s office ordered Hajjaj to be detained for 14 days and transferred him to Salt Prison, northwest of Amman.”

Read CagleCartoonist David Fitzsimmons’ column about his friend Emad.

The Times of Israel has an excellent article about Emad’s arrest.

This Washington Post article outlines the history hypocrisy of Jordan’s claims to have a free press as they jailed Emad.

Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI) has posted an alert on Emad’s arrest.

In the group photo below, Emad is at the right, I’m second from the right and Emad’s cartoonist brother Osama is second from the left. We’re pictured with Mexican cartoonists at CartónClub’s La Linea del Fuego exhibition at the El Universal newspaper in Mexico City a couple of years ago. Emad is friends with cartoonists around the globe and we’ve had a great time traveling together to exotic, cartooning destinations. Since Emad is everyone’s friend in our tight-knit, global community of editorial cartoonists, his arrest comes as a quite a shock in our small world.


Our reader supported site, Cagle.com, still needs you!  Journalism is threatened with the pandemic that has shuttered newspaper advertisers. Some pundits predict that a large percentage of newspapers won’t survive the pandemic economic slump, and as newspapers sink, so do editorial cartoonists who depend on newspapers, and along with them, our Cagle.com site, that our small, sinking syndicate largely supports, along with our fans.

The world needs political cartoonists more now than ever. Please consider supporting Cagle.com and visit Cagle.com/heroes.  We need you! Don’t let the cartoons die!


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Cagle Cartoonists in France!

I just got back from our big convention at the editorial cartooning festival in the little village of St Just le Martel, France.

The French call editorial cartoons “press cartoons” and editorial cartoonists are “dessinateurs de presse.”  It was a struggle to get our dessinateurs de presse together for a group Cagle photo this year! Here’s one attempt.

CagleCartoonists above, standing from left to right are Iranian exile and new Cagle.com cartoonist, Hasan Kareimsdeh, Pierre Ballouhey from France, Manny Francisco from the Philippines, Gatis Sluka from Latvia, on top of the cow in the red hat is Cristina Sampaio from Portugal, standing below her is David Fitzsimmons, Ed Wexler, Steve Sack, Adam Zyglis and Pat Bagley. Kneeling or sitting from left to right are Christo Komarnitsky from Bulgaria, Jeff Koterba, me (Daryl Cagle), Emad Hajjaj from Jordan and Gary McCoy.

And here’s another attempt about fifteen minutes later with two new French CagleCartoonists added on the left, Robert Rousso and Jean-Michel Renault. Others wandered off. We missed seven or eight of our CagleCartoonists who were in St Just and didn’t show up for either photo. The cats just won’t stay in one place, and they don’t come when called.

This short video shows about half of our CagleCartoons Trump vs. Iran exhibit at St Just. We also participated in two other exhibits there, one bashing The New York Times for dropping editorial cartoons, and another, of memorial cartoons for the festival’s beloved founder, Gerard Vandenbroucke, who passed away in the last year.

My charming and generous St. Just family, Greg and Geraldine Decoster, who hosted us, in the cartoon museum with me and my cartoonist/musician son, Michael.

I’ve been coming to St Just for seven or eight years now and it has grown into an effective Cagle Cartoons convention for us. There is no other festival for editorial cartoons in the world that is anything like it. All the folks in the little village turn out to welcome the cartoonists, who they host in their homes. The cartoonists bond with their local host families and stay with the same family year after year. The charming and generous St. Just family, Greg and Geraldine Decoster, who hosted me and my cartoonist/musician son Michael, are shown in the photo at the right, in the cartoon museum.

The town’s teenagers are waiters at the huge, impressive dinners for the many editorial cartoonists from around the world. The video below was created by our CagleCartoonist, David Fitzsimmons, which shows the dinner scene, along with showing the cool editorial cartoon museum, the cute little town, St Just’s medieval church, the presentation of the cow to the cartoonist of the year (Swiss cartoonist, Thierry Barrigue) and more. (See my son, Michael drawing on the table at dinnertime in the video.)

 

Here are a bunch of Americans drinking and carousing at the home of Steve Sack‘s lovely St Just family (who prefers to remain anonymous).

Who are we?  From the bottom going clockwise: in the red shirt there’s Jeff Koterba, in the lower left is my cartoonist/musician son, Michael, moving up and around the table, there’s Ed Wexler, Gary McCoy, Steve Sack‘s son and daughter-in-law Adam and Mandy, Dave Fitzsimmons, Ed Wexler‘s daughter Sarah, Adam Zyglis, Dave’s wife Ellen, Pat Bagley‘s girlfriend Kate and Pat, Steve Sack, and Ed Wexler‘s wife Toni. I’m missing from the photo. (Maybe I’m taking the picture, holding that mysterious glass of red wine.)

The festival (or “salon” as they call it) is growing and this was their biggest year out of nearly 40 years in existence, and they are taking on an increasingly important role for our troubled profession. St Just le Martel is much appreciated!  Thanks everyone!

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The Line of Fire

Last week I got back from “The Line of Fire” conference in Mexico City, an editorial cartooning event put on by CartónClub. We’re hoping this will be the first of many annual conferences that CartónClub will be hosting. I’d like to see them succeed – we need more events like this around the world.

I was the only USA cartoonist in the La Linea de Fuego show. A bullet passed through each cartoon about press freedom. Violence against journalists is a big problem in Mexico.

Cagle Cartoons was a co-sponsor of the event and there was a great delegation of Cagle Cartoonists there, including me, Mike Keefe, Monte Wolverton, Gary McCoy, Rick McKee, David Fitzsimmons, Emad Hajjaj, Osama Hajjaj, Arcadio Esquivel, Rayma Suprani and Nerilicon. My buddy, Bizarro cartoonist Dan Piraro also came. CartónClub’s founder, Angel Boligan and their president, Dario Castillejos are Cagle Cartoonists too.

The event was also co-sponsored by Cartooning for Peace (CFP), which works in Mexico and Canada under the terms of their grant from the EU that funds the organization (notably, the grant excludes the USA). CFP does programs about editorial cartoons in schools and prisons around the world and trains participating cartoonists in how to give these presentations in workshops; they pay an honorarium to the participating cartoonists to keep them going, and giving more lectures. It is a nice program, and the days in Mexico City were filled with these training workshops that didn’t involve much of our Cagle Cartoons delegation, so we spent a lot of time as tourists.

I got the chance to talk to representatives of the EU who support Cartooning for Peace at the conference; it was great to hear how they appreciate our art form – I can’t imagine any editorial cartooning programs like these happening through the United States government.

There was a nice exhibition at the El Universal newspaper lobby called “La Linea de Fuego” (The Line of Fire) where a bullet passed through every cartoon, creating some havoc that had something to do with press freedom. That’s my Statue of Liberty entry in the exhibition above. We had panels and discussions. It was all good.

Here are a couple of photos from our trip. Thanks again to CartónClub and to everyone involved!

Here is a gaggle of cartoonists at the CartónClub conference!

Here’s another group pix with even more cartoonists, at the La Linea de Fuego exhibition …

Want to see more pix? Take a look at my new Instagram feed @daryl.cagle  I’m just starting Instagram and I don’t know what I’m doing there yet! You can also see more on my Facebook page.

Our Cagle Cartoonist David Fitzsimmons wrote a nice piece about the trip here.

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CagleCartoonists Meet in France

Every year, CagleCartoonists get together at the big editorial cartoons (they call them “Press Cartoons”) convention in St Just le Martel, France. The small village has dedicated itself to our art form, building a grand cartoon museum and hosting a great party for us. The museum is run by local volunteers; the townsfolk put most of the cartoonists up in their homes and they cook for us, and give us an open bar, and the teenagers in town are our waiters! I can’t imagine anything like that happening in the USA.

It is a delight to visit St Just and see our profession held in such high esteem.  Because of the generosity and support of the village, it is actually cheaper for the cartoonists to come to the convention in St Just than to go to our own, American cartoonist conventions.

This year we had 17 CagleCartoonists from around the world at St Just –you can see 14 of them in the group photo above. That’s our bovine Statue of Liberty looking us over, in the cartoon museum, at our “Trump: Nine Months Later” exhibit.

Our own Angel Boligan went home with the cow –the big annual prize in St Just. Congratulations to Angel!

The CagleCartoonists above are, from left to right: Manny Francisco (Singapore), Angel Boligan (Mexico), Christina Sampaio (Portugal), Pierre Balouhey (France), Pat Bagley (Utah), Gatis Šļūka (Latvia), Steve Sack (Minnesota), Osmani Simanca (Brazil), Monte Wolverton (Washington), Bill Schorr (California); Ed Wexler (California); Jeff Koterba (Nebraska) and Emad Hajjaj (Jordan). I’m seated in the front. Missing from our group photo (and probably hiding in the museum’s bathroom) are Rainer Hachfeld (Germany), Jos Colignon (Holland), and Christo Komarnitski (Bulgaria).