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Release Bassel Khartabil, Syria told

Khartabil was moved from Adra central prison to an undisclosed location [AFP]

Date of publication: 9 October, 2015

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Analysis: A Syrian detained since 2012 for 'peaceful activities in the support of freedom of expression' must be freed, said a group of 31 organisations.
Human Rights Watch, along with 30 other organisations, have called on Syrian authorities to immediately reveal where they were holding Bassel Kharabil.

They said Kharabil was facing military field court proceedings for his "peaceful activities in the support of freedom of expression".

The 34-year-old software developer has used his technical expertise to help advance freedom of speech and access to information via the internet. He was detained on 15 March 2012 and has been in detention ever since.

On 3 October 2015, Syrian authorities moved him from Adra central prison on the outskirts of Damascus to an undisclosed location.

Khartabil told his family he was being moved - but did not say where to.

His family have not received any official confirmation of the transfer, but believe he has been transferred to a military-run field court inside the military base in Qaboun.
     Khartabil should be on his way out of jail rather than being disappeared again


"There are real fears that Khartabil has been transferred back to the torture-rife facilities run by Syria's security forces," a spokesperson for the groups said.

"Khartabil should be on his way out of jail rather than being disappeared again."

After his arrest, Khartabil was held in the military intelligence detention facility in Kafr Souseh for eight months, where he was not allowed to communicate with the outside world.

He was then moved to the military jail in Sednaya. He told his family that, during his stay there, prison personnel had tortured him for three weeks.

His family were given no information about his location or reason for his detention, and were not allowed to visit him until 24 December 2012, when he was moved to Adra central prison.

The groups calling for his release include Amnesty International, the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, Reporters without Borders, and the Syrian Network for Human Rights.

"Bassel has always been a leading advocate for more transparency in Syria and the authorities should immediately reveal his whereabouts and reunite him with his family," the groups' spokesperson said.

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