Tony Greenstein | 08 October 2015 | Post Views:

Lest anyone forget, as Putin comes to the rescue of
Assad’s regime, the appalling human rights record of the Ba’athists in
Below is an article on the Electronic Intifada of Bassel
Khartabil who has been disappeared and severely tortured by Assad’s security
Tony Greenstein

free speech champion forcibly disappeared in Syria

than 30 prominent international human rights and free speech groups are calling
on the Syrian government to disclose the whereabouts of Bassel Khartabil, a
software developer of Palestinian origin who has been detained since 2012.
free speech advocate had been held in a central prison but his family believes
that he may have been transferred to one of the security forces’ “torture-rife”
managed to inform his family on 3 October that security officers had ordered
him to pack but did not reveal his destination,” the groups stated
on Wednesday
was held incommunicado for eight months after his March 2012 arrest, on the
first anniversary of the uprising in Syria, and was subjected to weeks of
groups protesting Khartabil’s forced disappearance include Amnesty
, Human Rights
, International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the Electronic
Frontier Foundation.
law defines a disappearance as an action by state authorities to deprive a
person of their liberty and then refuse to provide information regarding the
person’s fate or whereabouts,” the organizations said.
added that before Khartabil’s arrest, “he used his technical expertise to help
advance freedom of speech and access to information via the Internet. Among
other projects, he founded Creative Commons Syria, a nonprofit organization
that enables people to share artistic and other work using free legal tools.”
has received international recognition for his work, including the 2013
Index on Censorship Digital Freedom Award
. He was named one of Foreign
100 Global Thinkers
in 2012.
faces Military Field Court proceedings “for his peaceful activities in support
of freedom of expression,” the groups stated.
Field Courts in Syria are exceptional courts that have secret closed-door
proceedings and do not allow for the right to defense. According to accounts of
released detainees who appeared before them, the proceedings of these courts
were perfunctory, lasting minutes, and in absolute disregard of international
standards of minimum fairness,” the groups added.
of supporters have signed an online
calling for Khartabil’s release.

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