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October 3rd, 2015

Bassel Khartabil Safadi Moved to Court; Fate Uncertain

Bassel Khartabil

Bassel Khartabil Safadi
Photo: Joi Ito, CC-BY-2.0

Several posts on Saturday morning, mostly on social media, report that Bassel Khartabil Safadi has been moved from Adra Prison in Damascus, Syria, and may have been transferred to the civil court of the military police area in Qaboun, Syria.

Mediaoriente gave this report, and the Free Bassel Safadi Facebook page has also been active on Saturday, though details have been sketchy.

Also on Saturday, a Change.org petition had begun circulating asking the Syrian government to free Bassel.

A recent FOSS Force interview with Fabricatorz’s Jon Phillips can be found here.

As we’ve reported in the past, Bassel Khartabil Safadi, a 31-year-old Palestinian-Syrian, is a respected computer engineer specializing in open source software development. He has been a project leader for 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, Wikipedia, Open Clip Art Library, Fabricatorz, and Sharism.

He launched his career 10 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.

Bassel’s work caught the attention of Foreign Policy magazine, which named him No. 19 in their Top 100 global thinkers list for 2012, choosing him for “fostering an open-source community in Syria long on the margins of the Internet’s youth culture.”

On March 15, 2012, Bassel was detained in a wave of arrests in the Mazzeh district of Damascus, Syria. Since his arrest, Bassel has been unjustly detained without trial or any legal charges being brought against him. Even after hundreds of Syrian political prisoners have been released over the last several months, he remains imprisoned.

Bassel has contributed much to the FOSS paradigm.

He’s one of us.

He deserves to be free.

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Larry Cafiero, a.k.a. Larry the Free Software Guy, is a journalist and a Free/Open Source Software advocate. He is involved in several FOSS projects and serves as the publicity chair for the Southern California Linux Expo. Follow him on Twitter: @lcafiero

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