Bassel Khartabil

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Bassel Khartabil
Arabic: باسل خرطبيل
Bassel Khartabil (Safadi).jpg
Born Bassel Khartabil
(1981-05-22) May 22, 1981 (age 33)
Syria
Residence Damascus, Syria
Nationality Syrian
Occupation Software Engineer
Known for Aiki Framework, Openclipart, Open Font Library, Fabricatorz, Mozilla, Creative Commons
Awards Index on Censorship 2013 Digital Freedom Award

Bassel Khartabil (Arabic: باسل خرطبيل‎) also known as Bassel Safadi (Arabic: باسل صفدي‎) (born May 22, 1981) is a Palestinian Syrian open-source software developer. Since March 15, 2012, the one-year anniversary of the Syrian uprising, he is currently detained by the Syrian government in Damascus at Adra Prison.[1]

Khartabil was born and raised in Syria, where he specializes in open source software development. He has been CTO and co-founder of collaborative research company Aiki Lab[2] and was CTO of Al-Aous,[3] a publishing and research institution dedicated to archaeological sciences and arts in Syria. He has served as project lead and public affiliate for Creative Commons Syria,[4] and has contributed to Mozilla Firefox, Wikipedia, Openclipart, Fabricatorz, and Sharism.[5] He "is credited with opening up the Internet in Syria and vastly extending online access and knowledge to the Syrian people." [6]

His most recent work includes a 3D photo realistic reconstruction of the old city of Palmyra (Syria),[7] real time visualization, and development with Fabricatorz for the web programming framework Aiki Framework.

Detention[edit]

On March 15, 2012, activists say Khartabil was detained amid arrests in the Mazzeh district of Damascus. That day marked the one-year anniversary of the Syrian uprising, with pro- and anti-government protesters demonstrating in Damascus and elsewhere in the country.[8] The organizers of the #FREEBASSEL campaign say he is now being held in the security branch of Kfar Sousa, Damascus.

In April 2012, Khartabil was to have been married. His marriage contract with wife Noura was finalized later that year, while Bassel was in prison.[9]

On December 12, 2013, a request for written answer on the question of Bassel's imprisonment was raised before the European Parliament to the Commission (Vice-President/High Representative), stating that "his voluntary work, always non-violent in nature, was greatly valued by Syrians of all backgrounds, and it is strongly suspected that his arrest was part of an effort to restrict access to online communities and discourses and stifle free expression in Syria."[10] On March 18, 2014, the written answer from High Representative/Vice-President Catherine Ashton was published, stating that "The HR/VP deplores the ongoing imprisonment of Bassel Safadi Khartabil, shares the concerns at his situation and follows it very closely." [11]

#FREEBASSEL Campaign[edit]

After his detention became widely known in early July 2012, a global campaign was launched calling for his immediate release.[12][13]

On March 15, 2013,[14] the #FREEBASSEL project lead a #FREEBASSELDAY campaign with Creative Commons, Mozilla, and other community leaders which resulted in the creation of public artworks, meetups, press, and videos.[15][16][17][18][19][20]

On May 22, 2013, commemorating Bassel Khartabil's second birthday in prison and marking the 799th day of the Syrian conflict, the Index on Censorship,[21][22] Creative Commons,[23] and the #FREEBASSEL campaign joined forces to celebrate Khartabil's achievements and to encourage others to send birthday wishes. In addition, by publicly launching Project Sunlight,[24] the advocacy groups encourage action to uncover more information about Khartabil's condition and location.[25]

On January 23, 2014 Marc Weidenbaum together with the #FREEBASSEL campaign launched an iteration of his Disquiet Junto project in honor of Bassel, where participants in the online musical composition group were invited to "complete" Bassel's unfinished 3D visualization of Palmyra and "create a soundscape of between one and three minutes that might be employed in an immersive, completed digital visualization of ancient Palmyra." 38 musical compositions were created as part of the project.[26]

On March 15, 2014, the #FREEBASSEL project led a second iteration of the #FREEBASSELDAY campaign with Creative Commons, the Wikimedia Foundation and other community leaders and supporters which involved a Wikipedia edit-a-thon, meetups, the creation of a cookbook in Bassel's honor, and press.[27][28][29][30][31][32]

Awards[edit]

For its 2012 list of Top Global Thinkers, Foreign Policy named Bassel together with Rima Dali as #19 for "insisting, against all odds, on a peaceful Syrian revolution."[33]

On March 21, 2013 Bassel was awarded Index on Censorship's Digital Freedom Award.[34][35] Although still detained at the time in Adra Prison, Bassel was able to communicate his gratitude through Dana Trometer and Jon Phillips receiving the award on his behalf, wherein he paid "respect to all the victims of the struggle for freedom of speech, and, especially for those non-violent youths who refused to carry arms and deserve all the credit for this award."[36]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "#FREEBASSEL: a campaign to free Bassel Khartabil from Syrian jail". Al Bawaba. 4 July 2012. Retrieved 5 July 2012. 
  2. ^ Aiki Lab
  3. ^ Al-Aous
  4. ^ CC Syria
  5. ^ "Threatened Voices / Bloggers / Bassel (Safadi) Khartabil". 
  6. ^ "Request for Written Answer on the Question of the Imprisonment of Bassel Safadi Khartabil". European Parliament. 18 March 2014. Retrieved 9 April 2014. 
  7. ^ "Bassel Safadi discusses project involving 3D reconstruction of ancient city of Palmyra at San Francisco Art Institute, live from Syria via Skype". Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  8. ^ "As revolt against Assad enters 2nd year, ‘up to 500,000’ Syrians may flee crackdown". Al Arabiya. 15 March 2012. Retrieved 5 July 2012. 
  9. ^ "Stories from the Syrian Revolution: Love in the Time of Revolution is a Revolution". Free Syrian Translators. 1 September 2013. Retrieved 15 March 2014. 
  10. ^ "Request for Written Answer on the Question of the Imprisonment of Bassel Safadi Khartabil". European Parliament. 12 December 2013. Retrieved 15 March 2014. 
  11. ^ "Answer given by High Representative/Vice-President Ashton on behalf of the Commission on the Question of the Imprisonment of Bassel Safadi Khartabil". European Parliament. 18 March 2014. Retrieved 9 April 2014. 
  12. ^ "Activists launch #FREEBASSEL campaign to bring about release of Syrian web entrepreneur, well-known in technology communities". Al Jazeera. 4 July 2012. Retrieved 5 July 2012. 
  13. ^ Galperin, Eva. "Open Source Developer Bassel Khartabil Detained in Syria". Electronic Frontier Foundation. Retrieved 5 July 2012. 
  14. ^ "The FreeBasselDay Event". freebassel.org. 18 March 2013. Retrieved 15 March 2014. 
  15. ^ "CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED TO BRING HOME LOVED AND CELEBRATED INTERNET VOLUNTEER DETAINED IN SYRIA". FreeBassel.org. Retrieved 15 March 2014. 
  16. ^ "Free Bassel, Free Culture". The Huffington Post. 15 March 2013. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
  17. ^ "#FreeBassel: One Year Later, Syrian Netizen Remains in Prison". Global Voices Online. 15 March 2013. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
  18. ^ "Family of Syria Internet guru appeals for EU help". The EU Observer. 15 March 2013. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
  19. ^ "#freebassel: Syrischer Netzaktivist sitzt seit einem Jahr im Gefängnis". Netzpolitik. 15 March 2013. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
  20. ^ "Seit einem Jahr in Hafts". Taz. 15 March 2013. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
  21. ^ "Birthday wishes for Bassel Khartabil". Index on Censorship. Retrieved 24 May 2013. 
  22. ^ "Today is Bassel’s second birthday in prison". Index on Censorship. Retrieved 24 May 2013. 
  23. ^ Harmon, Elliot. "Bassel Khartabil's Second Birthday in Prison". Creative Commons. Retrieved 24 May 2013. 
  24. ^ https://etherpad.mozilla.org/freebassel
  25. ^ Phillips, Jon. "FREEBASSEL SUNLIGHT: Celebrate Bassel’s Birthday". Fabricatorz. 
  26. ^ "Disquiet Junto Project 0108: Free Bassel Create a soundscape for the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra". Disquiet Junto. 
  27. ^ "Cookbook in Honor of Bassel Khartabil". Creative Commons. 24 February 2014. Retrieved 9 April 2014. 
  28. ^ "Join Us in San Francisco for Free Bassel Day". Creative Commons. 7 March 2014. Retrieved 9 April 2014. 
  29. ^ "Free Bassel Day". Creative Commons. 15 March 2014. Retrieved 9 April 2014. 
  30. ^ "In Syria, a detained Internet activist remains in limbo". CNET. 11 March 2014. Retrieved 9 April 2014. 
  31. ^ http://phonotheque.hypotheses.org/12539
  32. ^ http://aerbook.com/books/The_FreeBassel_Cookbook-4614-110792.html
  33. ^ "The FP Top 100 Global Thinkers: 19 RIMA DALI, BASSEL KHARTABIL". Foreign Policy. 26 November 2012. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  34. ^ "Imprisoned internet pioneer Bassel Khartabil wins Index on Censorship Digital Freedom Award". Creative Commons. 21 March 2013. Retrieved 21 March 2013. 
  35. ^ "Bassel Khartabil Wins Index on Censorship Digital Freedom Award". Fabricatorz. 21 March 2013. Retrieved 21 March 2013. 
  36. ^ "Winners – Index Awards 2013". Index on Censorship. 21 March 2013. Retrieved 21 March 2013. 

External links[edit]