Hi everyone,

Thank you for raising this issue here on this list. I wanted to share some
more information about how we’ve been working to support Bassel to this
point, in public and behind the scenes. Unfortunately, some efforts are
sensitive, so can’t be shared in full on public mailing lists. But we’re
committed to supporting next steps or decisions by the community, and
keeping you updated going forward.

Working with some other colleagues at the Foundation, we have been tracking
Bassel's case for some time now, in direct contact with the organizers of
the #FreeBassel campaign <http://freebassel.org> [1], and Bassel's family.
The actions we have taken to date have been in coordination and approval
with the #FreeBassel campaign, including:

   - Coordination and communication with related organizations, such as the
   Electronic Frontier Foundation and Amnesty International. (ongoing)
   - Regular contact and updates with senior human rights officials at the
   U.S. State Department. (ongoing)
   - Outreach to the press around Bassel’s arbitrary detention and
   contributions to the free knowledge movement. Please see this WIRED
story, “A
   Jailed Activist’s 3-D Models Could Save Syria’s History From ISIS
   
<http://www.wired.com/2015/10/jailed-activist-bassel-khartabil-3d-models-could-save-syrian-history-from-isis/>.”
   [2] (Although we did reach out to WIRED, we cannot say for certain if that
   story was the direct result of our efforts or others within the #FreeBassel
   coordination community). (10/21)
   - Raising Bassel’s case in public speaking opportunities, including
   Lila’s keynote to the Creative Commons Summit. (10/15)
   - Blog post #FREEBASSEL: Free culture advocate who built 3D renderings
   of Palmyra missing in Syria
   <https://blog.wikimedia.org/2015/10/08/bassel-missing-syria/> [3].
   (10/08)
   - Ongoing participation in #FreeBassel social media campaigns on
   Facebook and Twitter.

Bassel is in a situation known as arbitrary detention
<http://en.alkarama.org/1763-syria-un-calls-for-the-release-of-freedom-of-speech-advocate-bassel-khartabil>
[4]. Arbitrary detentions are characterized by uncertainty, lack of
information, and volatility. They’re scary because we don’t know what’s
happening, and often we are making decisions without a lot of information.
Our goal is always to support Bassel to make sure our efforts help him
without putting him at greater risk. So we’ve been working with experienced
human rights campaigners, including the #FreeBassel campaign, to understand
the best actions to take at different times over the past two months.

We’ve been in touch with Bassel’s family, who would support continued
efforts to raise awareness about Bassel’s situation through a note on
Wikipedia if that should happen. We can also join action letters (like this
<http://www.amnesty.nl/nieuwsportaal/pers/syria-fears-life-free-expression-advocate>
[5]) where the community agrees it's appropriate. If the community decides
to move forward with an action, we are here to help. We are monitoring the
discussions and activity in
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Banner:Free_Bassel as a place where
community consensus can form. Please let us know if there’s anything else
we can do to support efforts to raise awareness for Bassel.

Katherine

[1] http://freebassel.org/
[2]
http://www.wired.com/2015/10/jailed-activist-bassel-khartabil-3d-models-could-save-syrian-history-from-isis/
[3] https://blog.wikimedia.org/2015/10/08/bassel-missing-syria/
[4]
http://en.alkarama.org/1763-syria-un-calls-for-the-release-of-freedom-of-speech-advocate-bassel-khartabil
[5]
http://www.amnesty.nl/nieuwsportaal/pers/syria-fears-life-free-expression-advocate

On Tue, Nov 24, 2015 at 7:38 AM, Daniel Mietchen <
daniel.mietc...@googlemail.com> wrote:

> Yes, a CentralNotice would seem appropriate here.
> Please help flesh it out at
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Banner:Free_Bassel .
>
> Daniel
>
> On Tue, Nov 24, 2015 at 3:38 PM, Gerard Meijssen
> <gerard.meijs...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > Hoi,
> > I have started a text..
> > Thanks,
> >      GerardM
> >
> > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Banner:Free_Bassel
> >
> > On 24 November 2015 at 15:25, Pete Forsyth <petefors...@gmail.com>
> wrote:
> >
> >> +1
> >> Gerard, or Andrea, or anybody who knows better than myself, could you
> start
> >> a draft on Meta Wiki with a proposed text for a banner, and where it
> should
> >> link/what it should advise readers to do?
> >> Pete
> >> On Nov 24, 2015 3:13 AM, "Tito Dutta" <trulyt...@gmail.com> wrote:
> >>
> >> > Sad news. Agree with everyone here that we should do something.
> >> >
> >> > On 24 November 2015 at 16:38, Gerard Meijssen <
> gerard.meijs...@gmail.com
> >> >
> >> > wrote:
> >> >
> >> > > Hoi,
> >> > > Tomorrow we have a platform as well at the Erasmus award ceremony in
> >> > > Amsterdam. It is Wikipedia, its community that is receiving the
> award..
> >> > > Thanks,
> >> > >      GerardM
> >> > >
> >> > > On 24 November 2015 at 12:03, Cristian Consonni <
> >> kikkocrist...@gmail.com
> >> > >
> >> > > wrote:
> >> > >
> >> > > > 2015-11-24 10:47 GMT+01:00 Andrea Zanni <zanni.andre...@gmail.com
> >:
> >> > > > > Use the centralnotice.
> >> > > >
> >> > > > [...]
> >> > > >
> >> > > > > A Wikipedian, a member of our community sentenced to death for
> >> > > believing
> >> > > > in
> >> > > > > our Mission and Vision is something extraordinary. I understand
> the
> >> > > > caution
> >> > > > > of setting a precedent, but I think it's worth it.
> >> > > > >
> >> > > > > Also, remember: we have few days before we'll ask money again to
> >> all
> >> > > the
> >> > > > > English-speaking countries.
> >> > > > > How could we ask for money when we are not using the power that
> was
> >> > > > > bestowed upon us by the very same spirit, love and courage that
> is
> >> > > > > condemning Bassel to death?
> >> > > >
> >> > > > I strongly support this.
> >> > > >
> >> > > > As for the precedent, recall that the Wikimedia Foundation
> supports
> >> > > > the users, we did this with User:Diu in Greece:
> >> > > >
> >> > > >
> >> > >
> >> >
> >>
> https://blog.wikimedia.org/2014/02/14/wikimedia-foundation-supports-wikipedia-user-subject-to-defamation-lawsuit-in-greece/
> >> > > >
> >> > > > This is much more than a lawsuit.
> >> > > >
> >> > > > A message I do not want us to send is that if you enough force or
> the
> >> > > > threat is big enough, then we, as a movement, will be scared away.
> >> > > >
> >> > > > C
> >> > > >
> >> > > > _______________________________________________
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-- 
Katherine Maher
Chief Communications Officer
Wikimedia Foundation
149 New Montgomery Street
San Francisco, CA 94105

+1 (415) 839-6885 ext. 6635
+1 (415) 712 4873
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