Update: Watch the report about Alaa and Bassel on Al Jazeera
This statement has been re-published from Global Voices Advocacy.
Today, on Human Rights Day, we remind the world of our many friends who have broken the silence of oppression by expressing their thoughts, asking questions, and thinking critically and constructively about how to solve the problems before them.
We remember today Alaa Abd El Fattah and Bassel Khartabil (aka Bassel Safadi), two jailed friends who are serving arbitrary sentences that will jeopardize their futures as innovative and free thinkers from the Arab region. Bassel has been behind bars in Syria since March 2012, and Alaa has been imprisoned in Egypt repeatedly since the era of Mubarak.
Break the silence with us today in this global campaign for Alaa, Bassel, and the many others who have been unjustly imprisoned because of their activism.
Help support our jailed friends:
- Sign this statement: Click here to lend your support!
- Share this statement on your website
- Support Alaa and Bassel on Twitter and Facebook using #FreeAlaa and #FreeBassel
Bassel was born and raised in Syria, and became a specialist in open-source software development. He co-founded the collaborative research company Aiki Labs, and was the CTO of Al-Aous, a publishing and research institution dedicated to archaeological sciences and arts in Syria. He served as a project lead and public affiliate for Creative Commons Syria, and contributed to Mozilla Firefox, Wikipedia, Openclipart, and Fabricatorz. His most recent work includes a 3D photorealistic reconstruction of the old city of Palmyra in Syria.
In November 2012, Foreign Policy named Bassel one of the world’s 100 top global thinkers. Bassel is a techie who wanted to help improve his country by introducing new Internet technologies for universities, businesses, and civil society groups. Today, Human Rights Day, marks Bassel’s 1000th day in prison.
- Bassel Khartabil profile video
- Winner of the Index on Censorship 2013
- Statement at the European Parliament: Imprisonment of Bassel Safadi Khartabil
- One Year Later, EFF Honors Jailed Syrian Blogger Bassel Khartabil
- FREEBASSEL campaign site
Alaa Abd El Fattah is an Egyptian political activist, blogger, and open source advocate who has spent the better part of the past three years in prison. First jailed in 2006 under Mubarak, Alaa has been in and out of prison since 2011 for false accusations made in connection with his longstanding and influential activism. In December 2011, he missed the birth of his son Khaled, while in detention.
In June 2014, he was sentenced in absentia—despite being just outside the courtroom—to 15 years in prison.
Though he was released on bail for a brief period in September, Alaa was arrested again on October 21. On November 18, he spent yet another birthday, his 33rd, in Cairo’s Torah Prison. He is allowed out of his cell only for one hour a day, and is not regularly allowed outdoors. As of December 10, he will have been on hunger strike for 38 days.
Alaa’s sister, Sanaa Seif, was sentenced to three years in prison in October for violating Egypt’s draconian protest law.