One of the group photos from Wikimania 2017 in Montreal
Death of Bassel and celebration of his life
Bassel Khartabil, a Palestinian Syrian open-sourcesoftware developer and Wikimedia content contributor, has been confirmed as dead by his wife as of 31 July 2017. From the Wikimedia Foundation blog, "Bassel was a leader, advocate, and member of many open culture communities; he had a pivotal role in the development of the open source movement in the Arabic-speaking world. In addition to his advocacy for and contributions to Wikimedia—many of which were made anonymously—he was project lead and public affiliate for Creative Commons Syria, a friend of the Global Voices community, a free software advocate and contributor to Mozilla, the founder of Aiki Lab hackerspace in Damascus, and much more."
Bassel had been arrested on 15 March 2012 and held in detention until September 2015 when his communication was cut and the Syrian prison system ceased communication about him. The Wikimedia community and others participated in a campaign asking #WhereIsBassel. The recent announcement confirmed that Bassel was missing because he had been executed outside of any legal process for activities including his engagement with Wikipedia and similar educational projects. A close friend of Bassel's remarked to Wikipedia that Bassel continually hid his on-wiki editing history and accounts for fear of his safety, so Wikipedians cannot review his work history.
At Wikimania 2017 in Montreal an Editathon for Bassel celebrated his life. There was also a Basselpedia Party at which attendees shared what they knew of Bassel and discussed his work and the circumstances of his death. Many media outlets reported on Bassel's death. Wikipedia participants wishing to demonstrate condolences may edit the Wikipedia articles about Bassel and his work, read FreeBassel.org for news on next steps, or take action as they deem respectful in his memory. B
Board of Trustees appointments
On 11 August 2017 the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees confirmed the appointments of three community-selected trustees:
María Sefidari and Dariusz Jemielniak (both reappointed), as well as James Heilman, former Trustee (controversially removed December 2015, see previous Signpost coverage).
Christophe Henner and María Sefidari were reappointed as Chair and Vice Chair respectively. Terms for the community-selected Trustees last for three years. E