Sami al-Haj is free !!!!!!!!!!!

By Paul R

An al-Jazeera cameraman detained by American forces in Afghanistan was last night released after spending nearly six years imprisoned without charge at Guantánamo Bay.

Sami al-Haj, 39, was arrested on the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan on December 15 2001, while on assignment to cover the war against the Taliban. Although he had a valid visa to work in Afghanistan, US intelligence alleged that he was an al-Qaida operative, and he was transferred to Guantánamo in June 2002.

Last night, his lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, said Haj was en route to his home in Sudan to be reunited with his wife and son. He said: "I'm very glad Sami has finally been released, but the question is why he wasn't freed many years ago."

The US military alleged that Haj had secretly interviewed Osama bin Laden, smuggled guns for al-Qaida and worked as a financial courier for Chechen rebels. But the evidence against him was never revealed, and he was never charged.

Prior to his release, Haj had been on hunger strike since January 2007, and was forced to undergo "assisted feeding" via a tube through his nose. According to Stafford Smith, he was suicidal and had throat cancer, but camp authorities withheld medical treatment. "We are very concerned about him, because he has been under a tremendous amount of stress and has been on hunger strike for 480 days. He has asked to be taken straight to a hospital in Khartoum," Stafford Smith said.

In exchange for Haj's release, the Sudanese government has agreed to ban him from working as a journalist or leaving Sudan, according to Reporters Without Borders.

Robert Ménard, secretary general of Reporters Without Borders, said: "Sami al-Haj should never have been held so long. US authorities never proved that he had been involved in any criminal activity."

Haj's case was one of number involving journalists captured by US forces while reporting from war zones. Two weeks ago US forces in Iraq released Bilal Hussein, a photographer from the Associated Press news agency, who was detained in Ramadi in April 2006.

Commentators in the Middle East viewed Haj's imprisonment as a proxy punishment for al-Jazeera, whose broadcasts have angered US officials.

When the BBC reporter Alan Johnston was kidnapped in Gaza, Haj appealed for his release. Johnston in turn, called on the US authorities to free Haj. But Stafford Smith said much of the western media had been slow to take up Haj's case.

A spokesman for the Pentagon refused to comment on the case.

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By diamond• 12 years 9 months ago.
diamond

No need to apologise. I am not in the slightest bit upset. It's just a conversation after all.

 

 

 

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By diamond• 12 years 9 months ago.
diamond

You don't have to repeat yourself. The thread topic is about Sami and I have a great deal of sympathy for what he has had to endure. I think it is outrageous that Guantanamo exists.

Just because I'm talking about that being outrageous does not negate my feelings that terrorism is too.

 

 

 

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By realsomeone• 12 years 9 months ago.
realsomeone

terrorism wont exist when the US terrorism wont exist...

By diamond• 12 years 9 months ago.
diamond

That's right. Terrorism is wrong. Period. But for a country like the US who regards it self as highly developed in every sense including it's legal system which it considers to be just and fair, Gitmo makes a mockery of all that.

 

 

 

[img_assist|nid=57389|title=|desc=peace|link=none|align=left|width=|height=0] _______________________________________________

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By diamond• 12 years 9 months ago.
diamond

Six years without access to a lawyer. Six years with no charges being brought.

It's against US law not to have access to a lawyer or not to be charged with something after a certain period of detention (way shorter than six years!).

Gitmo is just wrong.

 

 

 

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By anonymous• 12 years 9 months ago.
anonymous

'to lock people up for years with no evidence, access to a lawyer or trial is plain wrong.'

Then it is justified that ppl would react in the manner that Alexa said:

'fly airplanes into skyscrapers'

if a government like the U.S does not care about the damage that it is causing to innocent ppl/jounalists, then the other party should also not care for innocent.....towers!

As long as places like guntnmo r not shut down, then there is no harm if more towers fell

By Malu• 12 years 9 months ago.
Malu

Am agree with your comments Diamond girl, it’s a Wild World, like this Democracy and Peace is being promoted. Donald Rumsfeld once said about Guantanamo Bay's detainees "These prisoners are out of humanity circle and they don’t deserve justice".

The drama of 9/11 was nothing but just a start of world domination, this is there Democracy and Justice which they are promising with the world where an innocent journalist like Sami took six years to prove not guilty.

By diamond• 12 years 10 months ago.
diamond

I'm all for punishing terrorists but to lock people up for years with no evidence, access to a lawyer or trial is plain wrong. A government like the US should be better than this.

Arrest people based on evidence gathered, give them access to a lawyer, try them and if found guilty, lock them up.

Check out what Amnesty has to say about Guantanamo:

www.amnesty.org.uk

 

 

 

[img_assist|nid=57389|title=|desc=peace|link=none|align=left|width=|height=0] _______________________________________________

www.nfcr.org

By anonymous• 12 years 10 months ago.
anonymous

I think all prisons should be of the same standard!

By nadt• 12 years 10 months ago.
nadt

I dont agree with places like Guantanamo Bay at all, animals are treated better tha these people. If they are guilty of terrorism etc go ahead and charge them and deal with them accordingly , but to have only "allegations" against you and loose 6 years of your life is not only unfair for the innocent but frightening....Its an abuse of power...

By DohaSteve• 12 years 10 months ago.
Rating: 3/5
DohaSteve

Alexa is correct - until fanatics stop believing that the way forward is to cause misery and suffering to innocents, places like Guantanamo Bay will have a reason to exist.

 

Gitmo is simply another extension of fanatacism; the one that grips the USA in their flag-waving naivety, although judging by the latest polls it does seem that themajority of Americans are finally coming to their senses over both Bush and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. A case of trying to slam the stable door long after the proverbial horse has bolted.

 

Like most apparent opposites neither brand of fanatic can exist without the other. The great sadness is that this will continue while innocents suffer, and I can see no end to it.

 

"You can't tell which way the train went by looking at the tracks"

By Adorman• 12 years 10 months ago.
Adorman

Alexa we dont have a problem with what u said about suicide bombers they should punished but what about the kids  there ? why they dont judge them if they are sure they are terrorists? why the prisoners there terrorists and innocents in there countries ?

Let's forget  about the evil doers there and think about the people who are innocents .

people like Sami.

By anonymous• 12 years 10 months ago.
anonymous

He is known for his strong faith, he didnt bend his knees. They gave him Quran and took his glasses away

http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/02/14/opinion/edkristof.php

 

Alexa I am sick of your comments, Have faith in King of liars(Bush) you will be always contented

By anonymous• 12 years 10 months ago.
anonymous

do u know sami?!

By anonymous• 12 years 10 months ago.
Rating: 4/5
anonymous

Speaking to reporters from a hospital bed, Sami said, “I’m very happy

to be in Sudan, but I’m very sad because of the situation of our

brothers who remain in Guantánamo. Conditions in Guantánamo are very,

very bad and they get worse by the day. Our human condition, our human

dignity was violated, and the American administration went beyond all

human values, all moral values, all religious values.”

 

We celebrated many Eids without you, we had hearty meals without you

There is not a single moment when I dont remember you

 

 

 

By nadt• 12 years 10 months ago.
nadt

Considering what the poor guy and other go through im not surprised hes aged physically...I feel sorry for him and his family...

By anonymous• 12 years 10 months ago.
Rating: 3/5
anonymous

this is truly great news! six years in gitmo! i was watching the news - they showed pictures of him before he was taken and now ... he looks like he has aged 30 years :( ---Please read our Community Guidelines before posting on Qatar Living. It will save us all a lot of pain :)

By Adorman• 12 years 10 months ago.
Adorman

You know the most unbelievable thing a lot of these people who are defined as  terrorists and evil doers when they released and back to home they are free and good citizens !!!

By nadt• 12 years 10 months ago.
nadt

I agree Adorman..I wonder what happened to Innocent until proven guilty...Abuse of power if you ask me..

By Adorman• 12 years 10 months ago.
Adorman

yea nadt Guantanamo shouldn't exist we know there are children there some were 15,16 years when they arrested.

I'm feeling happy and angry in same time happy for Sami he is free now and angry because 6 years from his life just gone for nothing.

By nadt• 12 years 10 months ago.
nadt

diamondgirl said WONDERFUL NEWS!!! Mabrouk ...

WONDERFUL NEWS!!! Mabrouk for Sami!!!

Six years and then released without charge. Denied numerous basic human rights. Interrogated with eveidence procured under torture. No laywer allowed.

I've shed tears seeing Sami reunite with his 7 year old son. Last time he saw him he was a baby of one year old.

Guantanamo should not exist!!!!!!!!!!!

I will second that DG, couldnt have said it better..Its utterly disgusting...Nevertheless Alhamdallah hes free now...

By allam• 12 years 10 months ago.
allam

I'm very happy with this news. We'll be more happy, if Guantánamo disappear.

By Booo• 12 years 10 months ago.
Booo

Finally, it's been a long time coming.

By LupiN• 12 years 10 months ago.
LupiN

 

ALHAMDULLILLAH.

By diamond• 12 years 10 months ago.
Rating: 2/5
diamond

WONDERFUL NEWS!!! Mabrouk for Sami!!!

Six years and then released without charge. Denied numerous basic human rights. Interrogated with eveidence procured under torture. No laywer allowed.

I've shed tears seeing Sami reunite with his 7 year old son. Last time he saw him he was a baby of one year old.

Guantanamo should not exist!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

 

[img_assist|nid=57389|title=|desc=peace|link=none|align=left|width=|height=0] _______________________________________________

www.nfcr.org

By panda• 12 years 10 months ago.
panda

finally he's free....tnx for this good news....

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