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Palestinian cartoonist awarded CRNI's 2008 Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award

(CRNI/IFEX) - The following is a CRNI press release:

CRNI announces annual award winner

June 19, 2008, Burke, Virginia - Today, Cartoonists Rights Network International announced the winner of its 2008 Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award: Bahaa Boukhari, a Palestinian. CRNI, the only international organization devoted to defending the human rights of cartoonists imperiled because of their work, will present the award to Boukhari at its annual dinner on June 26. The dinner is to be held at the Hotel Contessa in San Antonio, Texas.

A group of cartoonists deemed the Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award the "Nobel Prize" of the cartooning world several years ago.

Every year, CRNI recognizes a cartoonist who has shown exemplary courage in the face of unrelenting threat, legal action or other pressure as punishment or disincentive for cartoons that were too powerful for some officials, sects, terrorists or demagogues.

Bahaa Boukhari has a long career in political cartooning in the Middle East. Last winter, Gaza authorities suspended publication of the newspaper that published a cartoon that ran in November. Boukhari and two colleagues were convicted of insulting the Hamas Parliament on February 3 2008. Although their fines and prison sentences were suspended, an unprecedented series of demonstrations took place in Ramallah on February 27 in defense of Boukhari and the right of Palestinians to express themselves freely without fear of intimidation or reprisal.

CRNI has affiliate organizations in 15 countries throughout the world; it conducts workshops and other training in freedom of expression issues for cartoonists. Its programs include actions to reduce violence with impunity against journalists. CRNI is a member of IFEX and the New York Foundation for the Arts.

Please contact CRNI for more information about Bahaa Boukhari and former awardees who are once again endangered. Algerian Ali Dilem, the most popular cartoonist in North Africa, is facing his third trial since January. In February, Danish security forces thwarted an international plot to kill Kurt Westergaard. Dilem and Westergaard were CRNI honorees in 2006. CRNI has witnessed an alarming rise in reprisals directed at editorial cartoonists due to the power and influence of their work.

For further information on the February 2008 conviction of Boukhari and his colleagues, see: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/91081

For further information on the Dilem case, see: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/94526

For further information on the Westergaard case, see: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/90719

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