Worry Over Software Engineer Held in Prison

Colleagues and friends of Palestinian-Syrian Bassel Khartabil said they are fearful he is in extreme danger of being tried at a quick military trial and then possible being executed. A group of the software engineer’s supporters and friends said he had been transferred to a military prison from a civil prison where he had previously been held and was not allowed to have the service of a lawyer.

Khartabil, a computer engineer who is 31, was detained during a wave of arrests on March 15 in the Mazzeh area of Damascus. Since that time, Khartabil’s family has not been given any official explanation as to why his was detained or information about his whereabouts. One of the engineer’s uncles who currently resides in the United Arab Emirates said his family in Damascus was completely devastated.

Members of the family that live outside of Syria have been in contact with groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, said the uncle. He also told reporters he was trying to get the word out himself about his nephew’s plight.

Friends of the family in Syria have given the family information about the condition physically of Khartabil, but the family has had no contact with Khartabil himself. Recent information said the engineer’s condition was getting worse due to prison conditions.

Khartabil was a computer engineer who lived in Damascus prior to the conflict who through his skills helped Syria to integrate into the online worldwide web community.

Most fear he will not receive a fair trial at the military prison where he is believed to be held at this time.

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