Bassel Khartabil is a Syrian born open-source software developer that has contributed to Mozilla Firefox, Wikipedia and even Creative Commons. On the 15th of March 2012 Khartabil was detained in Damascus. Bassel’s release was advocated for between the years of 2012 to present. The trending slogan #FreeBassel is becoming more and more frequent in the mainstream media. Only one question remains, however, and that is where is Bassel Khatabil?
In October of 2015 even after multiple pleas for Khartabil’s release, efforts upon efforts put in by the said organizations, friends, well-wishers, family members and even strangers it was revealed that Khartabil had more or less disappeared; his location unknown.
This, of-course, is not the entire truth. As the campaign picks up the world wants answers; what happened to Bassel Khartabil? Where has he been hidden? Or worse – was he secretly sentenced to death?
The matter of Khartabil is sorrowful but definitely not a unique case. Individuals who play key roles in liberation within a conservative country, as Khartabil was in Syria, are constantly walking around with targets on their backs. Often a times the higher, influential individual gets to these key players first and when they do they are, as in the case of Bassel Khartabil, never heard from again.