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Written by HRDs and Journalists
Press release: Syria- The Gulf Centre for Human Rights calls for the immediate release of Bassel Khartabil
Beirut, 16 July 2012-- On 15 March 2012, information technology expert Bassel Khartabil was detained in a wave of arrests in the Mazzeh district of Damascus. He remains in detention despite the fact that no charges have been brought against him.
On 3 July 2012 the “Free Bassel” campaign was launched calling for his release. The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) calls on the international community to join the campaign and to demand that his arbitrary detention be ended immediately.
Bassel Khartabil is an information technology teacher and computer engineer specialising in open source software development. He is a well-known contributor to global software and culture communities like Creative Commons, Mozilla Firefox, Wikipedia, Open Clip Art Library, Fabricatorz, and Sharism.
Bassel Khartabil has been in detention for five months, however, no information has yet been released by the authorities concerning any charges against him. Despite their on-going efforts his family have been denied any contact with him or information concerning his condition. It was recently revealed that he is being held in Kafer Sousa security detention branch 291. This information has caused great concern for his physical and psychological safety, as detainees held there have been subjected to torture and inhumane treatment as uncovered in the recent Human Rights Watch report “ Syria: Torture Centres revealed”.
As part of the campaign a letter was released calling on the Syrian authorities to immediately ensure the release of Bassel Khartabil. Signatories of the letter include Joi Ito, Chairman of the Board for Creative Commons, Lawrence Lessig, Harvard Law School Professor and over 580 others from around the world.
The GCHR believes that the arrest of Bassel Khartabil and his on-going detention are directly related to his work in relation to information sharing and in promoting freedom of information and expression. The GCHR calls on the international community to join the campaign to secure his release by logging onto http://freebassel.org/, and signing the letter demanding the Syrian authorities to ensure his immediate release.
The Gulf Centre for Human Rights is an independent centre and has been registered in Ireland. The Centre works to strengthen support for human rights defenders and independent journalists in Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.