For Immediate Release
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7413 5566
After hours: +44 7778 472 126
Syria: Extrajudicial execution of Bassel Khartabil a grim reminder of Syrian prison horrors
WASHINGTON - Responding to news of the execution of Syrian-Palestinian human rights activist Bassel Khartabil today, Anna Neistat, Amnesty International’s Senior Director of Research said:
“We are deeply saddened and outraged at this awful news. Bassel Khartabil will always be remembered as a symbol of courage, who peacefully fought for freedom to the very end. Our thoughts are with his family.
“Bassel Khartabil’s death is a grim reminder of the horrors that take place in Syrian prisons every day. The tens of thousands of people currently locked away inside Syrian government detention facilities face torture, ill-treatment and extra-judicial executions. These cruel acts undoubtedly amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
Bassel Khartabil’s family announced his death on 1 August 2017 after receiving information that he was killed in 2015 after allegedly being “tried” and “sentenced to death” by the military field court in Al-Qaboun, Damascus in a secret hearing. These courts are notorious for conducting closed-door proceedings that do not meet the minimum international standards for a fair trial.
Bassel was arrested on 15 March 2012 by the Syrian Military Intelligence and held in incommunicado detention for eight months before being moved to ‘Adra prison in December 2012. He remained in ‘Adra until 3 October 2015, when he managed to inform his family that he was being transferred to an undisclosed location. Since then his whereabouts remained unknown.
“We urge the Russian government to use its influence on the Syrian authorities to help end this madness. It must allow for independent monitors inside detention sites across Syria and for an investigation to be conducted. Thousands of lives are on the line.”
Bassel Khartabil, was born and raised in Syria to a Palestinian family. He worked as a software developer and was a prominent free speech activist. Before his arrest, Bassel Khartabil used his technical expertise to help advance freedom of speech and access to information via the internet. He has won many awards, including the 2013 Index on Censorship Digital Freedom Award for using technology to promote an open and free internet, and was named one of Foreign Policy magazine’s Top 100 Global Thinkers of 2012 “for insisting, against all odds, on a peaceful Syrian revolution.”
For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:
Tarek Wheibi, Amnesty International MENA Media Manager on email@example.com or call +961 81 666 428
Sara Hashash, MENA Media Manager in London on firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 207 413 5511
or contact Amnesty International's press office on +44 20 7413 5566 or +44 (0)77 7847 2126
email: email@example.com twitter: @amnestypress
This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.
Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do.
Amnesty International is a worldwide movement of people who campaign for internationally recognized human rights for all. Our supporters are outraged by human rights abuses but inspired by hope for a better world - so we work to improve human rights through campaigning and international solidarity. We have more than 2.2 million members and subscribers in more than 150 countries and regions and we coordinate this support to act for justice on a wide range of issues.