Feeds

Mozilla Foundation and EFF join hunt for Syrian open source developer

One of our developers is missing

Boost IT visibility and business value

The open source community and human rights organizations have joined forces to find a software developer who has been missing for months following the recent civil unrest in Syria.

Bassel Khartabil, a 31-year-old computer engineer, was the project leader of Aiki Framework, an open source tool for building web applications. He also contributed to various community-based online projects, including Creative Commons, Fabricatorz, Mozilla Firefox, Open Clip Art Library, Sharism, and Wikipedia.

He was arrested on 15 March 2012 in the Mazzeh district of Damascus, Syria's capital city, during the mass demonstrations that swept the country. His family says they have neither seen nor heard from him since, but news has reached them that he may be held in a security facility in Damascus' Kafar Souseh district.

Mitchell Baker, chair of the Mozilla Foundation, has issued a statement on behalf of the organization in support of the effort to free Khartabil, saying:

Bassel's expertise and focus across all aspects of his work has been in support of the development of publicly available, free, open source computer software code and technology. Through his efforts, the quality and availability of freely available and open technology is improved and technology is advanced.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has also lent its support to the campaign, calling Khartabil's detainment "especially alarming" in light of a recent Human Rights Watch report documenting the use of torture in Syrian security facilities.

"EFF joins Bassel’s friends, family, and colleagues in calling for his release and condemns the Syrian government, which has held him for almost four months without charges or a trial," the organization said in a blog post.

Khartabil's supporters have launched an online petition, addressed to the Syrian government, urging his release. More than 1,000 supporters have signed the letter so far. In addition, the campaign encourages supporters to use the #freebassel hashtag on Twitter to raise awareness of the matter. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Mozilla keeps its Beard, hopes anti-gay marriage troubles are now over
Plenty on new CEO's todo list – starting with Firefox's slipping grasp
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.