The Syrian American Council mourns the death of famed Syrian internet activist Bassel Khartabil, who was arrested without charge by the Assad regime in 2012 and tortured for years before being executed in 2015. Khartabil’s death was publicly announced by his wife Noura yesterday, and we extend our most sincere condolences to her.
A Syrian of Palestinian descent and a software developer by profession, Khartabil played a vital role in opening Syria to the internet, helping to launch important projects such as Creative Commons Syria and Wikipedia Arabic. He was named one of 100 top global thinkers by Foreign Policy in 2012 and won the 2013 Digital Freedom Award from the Index on Censorship. After ISIS captured Palmyra in 2015, Khartabil started a project from jail to digitally preserve the ancient city, only to be disappeared and executed within days.
“While President Trump rightfully threatens Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro over his military arrests of opposition leaders, the Trump Administration is easing pressure on the Assad regime,” said Mirna Barq, president of the Syrian American Council. “Just as Trump holds Maduro ‘personally responsible’ for what happens in Venezuelan jails, he should also hold Assad responsible for the death of Bassel Khartabil, and act accordingly.”
Bassel's wife, Noura, publicly announced Bassel's death yesterday on Facebook. Noura posted:
"Words are difficult to come by while I am about to announce, on behalf of Bassel's family and mine, the confirmation of the death sentence and execution of my husband Bassel Khartabil Safadi. He was executed just days after he was taken from Adra prison in October 2015.
This is the end that suits a hero like him.
Thank you for killing my lover.
I was the bride of the revolution because of you.
And because of you I became a widow.
This is a loss for Syria.
This is loss for Palestine.
This is my loss..."