While people discuss the possibility of being incarcerated by government authorities in the Philippines, someone in Syria already is.

Bassel Khartabil (Bassel Safadi)

(cc) BY-NC-SA 3.0 Philippines

From :

On March 15, 2012, Bassel Khartabil was detained in a wave of arrests in the Mazzeh district of Damascus. Since then, his family has received no official explanation for his detention or information regarding his whereabouts. However, his family has recently learned from previous detainees at the security branch of Kafer Sousa, Damascus, that Bassel is being held at this location.

Bassel Khartabil, a Palestinian-Syrian, 31, is a respected computer engineer specializing in open source software development, the type of contributions the Internet is built upon. He launched his career ten years ago in Syria, working as a technical director for a number of local companies on cultural projects like restoring Palmyra and Forward Syria Magazine.

Since then, Bassel has become known worldwide for his strong commitment to the open web, teaching others about technology, and contributing his experience freely to help the world. Bassel is the project leader for an open source web software called Aiki Framework. He is well known in online technical communities as a dedicated volunteer to major Internet projects like Creative Commons (, Mozilla Firefox (, Wikipedia (, Open Clip Art Library (, Fabricatorz (, and Sharism (

Since his arrest, Bassel’s valuable volunteer work, both in Syria and around the world, has been stopped. His absence has been painful for the communities that depend on him. In addition, his family, and his fiancée whom he was due to marry this past April, have had their lives put on hold.

Bassel Khartabil has been unjustly detained for nearly four months without trial or any legal charges being brought against him.

We, the signees of the #FREEBASSEL campaign, demand immediate information regarding his detention, health, and psychological state.

We urge the Syrian Government to release the community member, husband-to-be, son to a mother and father, and celebrated International software engineer Bassel Khartabil, immediately.

The #FreeBassel Support letter is available at .

From Amnesty International :

Document – Syria: Torture fears for detainee in Syria: Bassel Khartabil

UA: 264/12 Index: MDE 24/076/2012 Syria Date: 18 September 2012


torture fears for detainee in syria

Bassel Khartabil, a Palestinian man born and raised in Syria, has been detained incommunicado since his arrest in Damascus, Syria, on 15 March. There are fears for his safety as a local source claims he has been tortured and otherwise ill-treated.

According to a local source Bassel Khartabil, aged 31, was arrested on 15 March 2012 as he left work in the al-Mezzeh district of Damascus. It is believed that he was detained by individuals working for one of the various security forces operating in Syria. One week after his arrest, Bassel Khartabil was briefly brought to his home by some members of the security forces, who confiscated his computers and files. Amnesty International does not have information about the reasons for his arrest, but fears it may be connected to the ongoing unrest and armed conflict in Syria.

A few weeks later when relatives enquired about him, security officials at the Kafr Sousseh Military Intelligence branch confirmed that Bassel Khartabil was detained, without revealing his whereabouts, his state of health, or if charges had officially been brought against him. International human rights standards require that detainees’ families are notified promptly after their arrest, and are allowed to communicate with detainees. Bassel Khartabil has also not been granted access to a lawyer, although international human rights standards require that detainees have access to a lawyer of their choice.

A few weeks later, a released detainee later informed Bassel Khartabil’s family that he was being held at the Military Intelligence Branch in Kafr Sousseh and had been tortured and otherwise ill-treated, heightening the concern for his safety. Bassel Khartabil is also diabetic and it is not known if he has access to medication he needs, has been provided with a diet that takes into account his diabetes or has been granted a proper medical assessment.

To advocate the release of Bassel Khartabil, Amnesty International provides for the following mechanism:

Please write immediately in Arabic, English, French or your own language:

Expressing concern that Bassel Khartabil has been detained incommunicado since 15 March, and urging the Syrian authorities to grant him immediate access to his family, a lawyer of his choice, and all necessary medical treatment;

Calling on the Syrian authorities to release Bassel Khartabil, unless he is promptly charged with an internationally recognizable criminal offence and tried in proceedings that respect international fair trial standards;

Calling on the authorities to ensure that Bassel Khartabil is protected from torture and other ill-treatment.


Bashar al-Assad
Presidential Palace, al-Rashid Street
Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic
Fax: +963 11 332 3410
Salutation: Your Excellency

Minister of Defence
His Excellency ‘Imad al-Fraij
Ministry of Defence, Omayyad Square
Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic
Fax: +963 11 223 7842
+963 11 666 2460
Salutation: Your Excellency

Minister of Foreign Affairs
Walid al-Mu’allim
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
al-Rashid Street
Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic
Fax: +963 11 214 6253
Salutation: Your Excellency

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

Thank you for the support that you could extend on this urgent matter.

I got first acquainted with Bassel during the Creative Commons Asia-Pacific regional meeting in Seoul, South Korea on June 2010. I saw him again during the Creative Commons Global summit in Warsaw, Poland on Septemeber 2011. He is an amiable person, and is passionate in pursuing the goals ofthe Open Source community.

Since early July, as a member of the CC Community and as a friend who wish for his safety, I have Bassel’s image on my Twitter profile, and his image will remain there until he is finally released.


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