A bit of a notice for you which has been shared around our social media accounts... I thought I'd share it here as well, for completeness. Apologies as it's a copy and paste from the event directly and it's not a WMUK-run event - but obviously we'll be showing our support where we can.

The Jimmy Wales Foundation is asking people to join the global protest for the ‪#‎WhereIsBassel‬ campaign on the 19th March in London (Marble Arch at 2pm), Paris, Berlin, Boston, San Francisco and more.

The Facebook event page is at

Bassel Khartabil has been imprisoned in Syria since March 15, 2012. A passionate advocate of free-knowledge, he worked as the lead of Creative Commons Syria, and a major contributor to Mozilla. He was also an editor of the Arabic Wikipedia.

His latest open-knowledge project has been an effort to preserve the cultural heritage of Syria, in the city of Palmyra. Currently under threat of groups like ISIS, who have been destroying ancient structures despite reassurances that they would be spared, ‪#‎NEWPALMYRA‬ hopes to use 3D modelling and free media to recreate what is being destroyed.

Following Bassel's arrest in Damascus in 2012, he was charged by the government of Syria with "harming state security". Bassel was put on trial without legal representation and was subjected to torture. In October 2015, reports emerged that Bassel disappeared from his prison cell. Rumours suggested that Bassel had been sentenced to death.

As volunteers for Wikimedia UK it can be easy to forget that we are safe and well - and able to edit freely. GLAM institutions welcome editors and Wikipedians in Residence. We enjoy balanced coverage of our endeavours. And though we may not always be happy with the results, public officials can & will still engage freely with our movement.

There are also the twin foundations of Creative Commons and open software, both of which Bassel has contributed so much to, and without which none of our work could be possible.

So we are asking you to please join us when we stand at Marble Arch this weekend to ask #WhereisBassel? We will be wearing face masks with Bassel's image on them and demand justice for a wronged free knowledge advocate.

For more information see:

To help with the free knowledge "reconstruction of Palmyra" project, #NEWPALMYRA, see:

All the best,

Richard Symonds
Wikimedia UK
0207 065 0992

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