Dear all,

I am very deeply saddened to share the news of the passing of our fellow
community member Bassel Khartabil, also known to some as Bassel Safadi.

Bassel was detained on March 15, 2012 amid arrests on the one-year
anniversary of the Syrian uprising. He had been missing since October 2015,
when he was removed from the Syrian prison where he was being held. His
wife, Noura, confirmed earlier today in a statement on Facebook that he was
executed by the Syrian government shortly after his disappearance.

Bassel was a leader, advocate, and member of so many open culture
communities it is difficult to do them all justice. In addition to his
contributions to Wikimedia, he was project lead and public affiliate for
Creative Commons Syria, a member of the Global Voices community, a free
software advocate and contributor to Mozilla, and much more. The European
Parliament statement on his detention credited him with “opening up the
Internet in Syria and vastly extending online access and knowledge to the
Syrian people."[1] He was known for his boundless enthusiasm and passion,
always encouraging others to share, create, and connect with a better world
around them.

Many of you cared deeply about Bassel, working to raise awareness of his
detention and disappearance. Please know that his friends and family knew
of and appreciated these efforts, both as a voice on his behalf and a
reminder of the values of the communities to which he devoted his time and
attention. I personally am grappling with profound anger and sorrow that
someone so brilliant, humane, and generous should be taken in this way. For
those who did not know Bassel, you can learn more about his life and work
at his article [2], and at

The Wikimedia Foundation will publish a statement soon, and ask for your
support in helping us translate that message to share more broadly. We will
also work to find a way to celebrate Bassel’s life and honor his
contributions at Wikimania next week.

Yours, sadly,


[2] (en); (ar)

Katherine Maher

Wikimedia Foundation
149 New Montgomery Street
San Francisco, CA 94105

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