2013 Freedom of Expression Digital Activism Award-winning Bassel Khartabil, a Syrian-born Palestinian digital activist, worked to build a career in software and web development. Before his arrest in 2012, he used his technical expertise to help advance freedom of speech and access to information in Syria via the internet. His execution by the Syrian government in 2015 was announced by his wife, Noura Ghazi Safadi, on Tuesday 1 August 2017.
The following speech was delivered at the 2013 Freedom of Expression Awards by his friend and colleague Dana Trometer.
Dear Prize Jury Committee Members, Dear Madams and Sirs,
I would like to thank you for this award. I am truly honoured to receive it.
I hope, this great honour, that I receive while I am still in prison for participating in the Syrian Revolution that has been going two years, will shed a light on the nonviolent sides of this popular movement that has claimed the lives of many young Syrian men and women.
Many are those who have lost their possessions, faced imprisonment or sacrificed their souls for freedom in Syria. Those, especially nonviolent activists, who refused to carry arms, deserve all the credit and respect.
Therefore in my name and the name of my wife, I dedicate this award to them, and to all those who are helping me win my freedom back.
I would like to thank you again for your support and for your generosity and I hope I will be able to meet you in person next year, and I urge you to support nonviolent activism and to continue to provide nonviolent movements with the essential technical support in Syria and around the world.
Bassel Khartabil Al Safadi