Director-General condemns killing of Syrian media worker Bassel Khartabil Safadi

10 August 2017 – Paris, 10 August—The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, has condemned the killing of Syrian media worker and open-web promoter Bassel Khartabil Safadi, whose death in a Syrian prison was confirmed last week.

“I condemn the killing of media worker Bassel Khartabil,” said the Director-General. “Bassel Khartabil carried out important work to support freedom of expression, and to help the people of Syria benefit from, and contribute to, the internet. His death is a loss to those committed to the sharing of knowledge across open channels. I call on the Syrian authorities to disclose information regarding the circumstances of his death.”

Bassel Khartabil Safadi was arrested in 2012 in connection to his work as an open-source software developer and promoter of access to information on an open and free internet. In 2015, he was moved to an unknown location where he is said to have been executed.

On 21 April 2015, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention called for Bassel Khartabil’s release, describing his detention as a violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The Director-General of UNESCO issues statements on the killing of media workers in line with Resolution 29 adopted by UNESCO Member States at the Organization’s General Conference of 1997, entitled “Condemnation of Violence against Journalists.”