Bassel Khartabil

Bassel Khartabil Fellowship Partners with Noura Ghazi's Nophotozone

The Bassel Khartabil Fellowship Supports International Human Rights Lawyer Noura Ghazi’s Launch of “Nophotozone” Organization to Support Detainees Forcibly Disappeared in Syria, like Bassel Khartabil


Saint Louis/Damascus — March 21, 2019 — Today the Bassel Khartabil Fellowship announced its partnership with International Human Rights lawyer Noura Ghazi’s Nophotozone organization. Nophotozone supports forcibly disappeared Syrians, and their families, through legal assistance, empowerment, and advocacy. Nophotozone was an idea originated by Ghazi together with her late husband, Bassel Khartabil, the Syrian-Palestinian technology innovator and activist who opened the Internet for the Arab world who was also a victim of unlawful Syrian disappearance.

“Within 24 hours of receiving the heartbreaking news that our friend Bassel was unlawfully executed, a group of leaders stepped up to honor his legacy by launching the annual Bassel Khartabil Fellowship supporting remarkable people fighting for free culture globally,” said Bassel Khartabil Fellowship Director, Barry Threw. “Together with Jimmy Wales and his Foundation, Mark Surman at Mozilla Foundation, Ryan Merkley from Creative Commons, Katherine Maher from Wikimedia Foundation, Habib Haddad with Yalla Startup, and Mohamad Najem with SMEX, the Bassel Khartabil Fellowship was created to ensure Bassel’s core values for free culture live on.”

The first Bassel Khartabil Fellow chosen was Majd Al-shihabi, a Palestinian-Syrian urban planner, and a software engineer like Bassel himself. He similarly shares a base of Beirut, Lebanon with Ghazi and Nophotozone. After a year of work supported by Fellowship partners, Majd’s work on Palestine Open Maps and Syrian Oral History Archives is receiving media attention and global contributions.

“The Bassel Khartabil Fellowship could not have selected a better inaugural candidate than Majd,” said Nophotozone Executive Director, Noura Ghazi. “Majd works in the spirit of Bassel. He is his own person, with his own voice. Majd is lifting up Syrian and Palestinian culture just as Bassel did, and as we are doing with Nophotozone.”

To solidify the partnership between Bassel Khartabil Fellowship and Nophotozone, the Bassel Khartabil Fellowship Director, Barry Threw, joins Nophotozone’s board, and Noura Ghazi joins the Bassel Khartabil Fellowship’s board.

“Today’s announcement with Nophotozone also commits the first partner of the upcoming 2019 Bassel Khartabil Fellowship,” said Threw. “We look forward to many upcoming partnership announcements, ensuring that Bassel’s death in pursuit of free culture, open internet, and free speech for all the World was not in vain.”

About Bassel Khartabil Free Culture Fellowship

Bassel Khartabil was a technology innovator who opened the Internet in the Arab World through Open Source Software and Open Hardware. He was a notable filmmaker, author and artist, whose works are being discovered anew after his untimely execution in 2015, discovered after being disappeared in 2017.

The Bassel Khartabil Fellowship awards $50,000 + support to a outstanding people developing free culture in their communities. This unique and life-changing fellowship promotes the values important to Bassel’s work and life: open culture, radical sharing, free knowledge, remix, collaboration, courage, optimism, and humanity. The Fellowship supported Majd Al-shihabi, the inaugural recipient, on two projects: Building an open source platform for oral history archives, to be used by the Syrian Oral History Archive, and digitizing, releasing, and improving the accessibility of previously forgotten 1940s British Mandate-era public domain maps of Palestine. The common thread: Preserving memory based on openness and collaboration and advancing visions for re-building and moving Palestinian and Syrian societies towards an open, fair, and free future.

About Nophotozone

NOPHOTOZONE is a non-governmental organization that seeks to promote legal awareness, human rights and knowledge, related to cases of detention and enforced disappearances in Syria.

About Noura Ghazi

Noura Ghazi is an International Human Rights lawyer. She has helped over 1,000 detainees and their families in Syria. She is the Co-founder and Executive Director of Nophotozone, the global NGO providing legal assistance, empowerment, and advocacy for detainees and their families and families of those forcibly disappeared in Syria. In 2015, she wrote a poetry book “Waiting…” to her husband Bassel Khartabil, famed technology innovator and nonviolent activist, while he was detained. In late 2015, Bassel was disappeared in Syria. In August 2017, Noura discovered evidence that Bassel had been executed shortly after his forced disappearance. In 2017 and 2018, Ghazi spoke Internationally about Human Rights at the United Nations and European Union regularly. Noura’s work has been covered by the BBC, Financial Times, NPR, NBC, The Telegraph, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Le Monde, and Al Jazeera. In 2018 Ghazi was named by Amnesty International as one of the “8 kick-ass women standing up for our rights.” She studied law at Damascus University. Noura is currently finishing a diploma in Arabic-English translation at Beirut Arab University and is doing a Master’s in conflict management and nonviolent mediation at Academic University of Nonviolence and Human Rights. She is from Damascus, Syria. She lives and works in Beirut, Lebanon.

Press Contact

Bassel Khartabil Fellowship PRESS [email protected]



20 March 2019

Signup for Updates

Recent News