Murder Case of Cartoonist Naji al-Ali Reopened in UK

31 Aug
6:03 AM

British police have launched fresh appeal for information on the murder of a famous Palestinian political cartoonist in London, 30 years ago, Al Jazeera reported on Tuesday.

The  police, Days of Palestine reports, said that they hoped someone might feel more able to speak up, three decades later.

Naji Salim Hussain al-Ali, who received a number of death threats for his cartoons satirizing Arab and Israeli politics, was shot in west London on July 22, 1987. He died in hospital just over one month later, aged 51.

Scotland Yard’s Counter Terrorism Command (CTC) is appealing for information about the gunman and a second man later seen driving away from the scene.

“The brutal murder of Mr Al-Ali devastated his family and 30 years on they continue to feel the loss,” CTC commander Dean Haydon said.

“A lot can change in 30 years: allegiances shift and people who were not willing to speak at the time of the murder may now be prepared to come forward with crucial information.”

Osama al-Ali, the cartoonist’s son, described his father’s sudden death as “traumatic”.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, al-Ali’s son said that people with influence may have withheld information crucial to finding out who was behind his father’s assassination.

“There were people active on the political scene at the time – who still are to a lesser extent – they have information which they did not share,” he said.

Al-Ali’s cartoons were often depicted from the perspective of Handala, a small refugee boy that always had his back turned as a symbol to the unrealized right of return for Palestinian refugees.

The cartoons were perceived as critical of the Palestine Liberation Organization leadership, as well as Israeli and Arab governments; they won him international acclaim, but also resulted in a number of death threats made against him.

“My brush is my only weapon, I use it to stand against the vicious forces of evil in our world,” al-Ali once said.

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