Bassel Khartabil was born and raised in Syria where he specialized in open source software development. The 34 year-old Palestinian Syrian has also been credited with opening up the Internet in Syria and vastly extending online access and knowledge to the Syrian people.
Since the Assad regime had done its best to control internet usage by the Syrian people since its inception, Bassel’s accomplishments were viewed as a threat to their authority and arrested him on March 15, 2012.
On November 3, 2015, Bassel was allowed to contact his wife to tell her he was being moved but he did not know where to. Then on November 11, Bassel’s wife Nour received unconfirmed reports that a Military Field Court has sentenced him to death. Military Field Courts in Syria are exceptional courts with secret closed-door proceedings that do not meet international fair trial standards. Defendants have no legal representation, and the courts’ decisions are binding and not subject to appeal.
Bassel’s arrest on the one year anniversary of the beginning of the revolution came just days before his marriage contract with human rights activist and lawyer, Noura Ghazi, was to be signed. The couple first met in Douma in April 2011 after coming back from a demonstration their marriage was finalized later that year while Bassel was in prison.
After his arrest, Bassel was interrogated and tortured for five days.. Security forces raided his house and confiscated his computer among other things. He was then transferred to another interrogation center and kept there incommunicado for 9 months. On December 9, 2012, Khartabil was brought to a hearing before a military prosecutor without an attorney present, and accused of "harming state security". He was then sent to the Adra Prison in Damascus.
Since his arrest there have been 36 local and international organizations involved in condemning his forced disappearance and demanding his release.
On Valentine's Day 2015, Noura made public a love letter she had written to Bassel where she reflected on what has taken place in Syria since his imprisoned:
“Bassel, I am very afraid, I am afraid about the country that is being slaughtered, divided, bleeding, being destroyed.. Ouch Bassel, I am very afraid that our dream is changing from seeing ourselves being the generation freeing their country to the one witnessing its destruction. Ouch Bassel, I am very afraid …”---- Noura Ghazi, A Love Letter to Jailed Syrian-Palestinian Bassel Khartabil.