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Cameraman Held by US for Six Years Without Charge

Sami al-Hajj worked as a cameraman for Al Jazeera when he was arrested on the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan in 2001. He had a valid work visa and was covering the US war against the Taliban. After being arrested, his name and passport number came up on a Pakistani intelligence list, as he had reported his passport being lost in Sudan two years before.

What happened next to Sami is a complete nightmare. Al Jazeera recounted Sami's story — After being held in Afghanistan and Pakistan for five months, he was sent as an enemy combatant to Guantanamo Bay. He sat in prison for six years, as prisoner 345...without a single charge.

Sami's lawyers claim that he was brutally beaten and interrogated 130 times by the US officials. He conducted a hunger strike, lost 40 pounds, and acquired a kidney infection from lack of medical care.

International journalist and human rights organizations called for his immediate release. Finally, yesterday the US released Sami. He returned to Sudan and to his wife and seven year old son, a boy he hasn't seen since he was one year old.

Are you saddened or outraged by this story? Does this undermine America's goal of spreading democracy?

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zash zash 8 years
Mr Hall442, First of all if it were WWII you wouldn't be here, and I'm not surprized to know that Nazis still live in some sick minds like you. Secondly If Al Jazera is a propaganda against US what do you call FOX?/ Thirdly, if a CNN reporter is found in a active warzone should he be sent to jail for 6 years??? No matter if you recognize Al Jazera as a news agency or not but all over the world (and i am talking about human world, you are comfortabely excluded since you dont even have a single sign of Human being left in you) reportes are not supposed to be touched. If what happend to this journalist is fare then why are we worried about what happend to Daniel Pearl?? For God sake be a Human first then american or what ever you are.
zash zash 8 years
To all those who still live in Dream land and asking for more proofs, this is not as isolated case guys, few months back a similar story came up about the Canadian Citizen who was kidnapped from JFK by milatry and spend 6 years in US torture cell in some where in gulf. Just google it and you will find almost every big news agency reported it and the coments from Miss rice was yes we are sorry for this kind of terrible mistake. Problem is that we as American just don't wana beleive that we are involved in any of these shameful acts. We claim to be the biggest supporters of humman rights, when so called sadam was involved in cruel acts with his own people we attaked the whole country and killed thousands and still killing them and, we never asked for any proofs from any other news agency besids what our nation media provided but when stories like these emergs we need every detail from New York posts. Guy we are creating more and more enemies every day every minute. what do you think who ever meet him and heard him in his country will not wana come back and hurt us??
hall442 hall442 8 years
1st off, he worked for Al Jazeera. This is NOT a news organization. This is a Terrorist Propaganda Machine. 2nd, He was in an active Warzone, without a valid passport. 3rdly, if this were WWII, he would have been shot dead on the spot. He should count himself lucky. The Nazis would have pulled all his fingernails out and cut off body parts til they got the information they wanted. Yes, he spent 6 years in jail. But he came out alive. This all would have been avoided if he hadn't of been there, looking to discredit American Troops, and make NO mistake; that IS why he was there. Al Jazeera has no other function, but the dissemination of anti-American Propaganda.
ecupirate ecupirate 8 years
I would feel genuinely sorry for the guy if only he didn't have his lawyers spreading lies about his having been "brutally beaten 130 times". I'm a retired Army NCO and I served my final tour of duty at Gitmo, and during my entire tour of duty I never saw a single prisoner physically assaulted, not even once. On the contrary, the prisoners were treated professionally, and had the good fortune to receive better medical care, free of charge, than many U.S. citizens. But it is unfortunate that he was held for so long with no clear justification. That is perhaps the saddest aspect of the civilized world's war against terrorists -- that too often it is the innocent who suffer most.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
I don't know what Al Jazeera you've been watching, but I have seen programs from the 90's (I watched them live) calling for the destrucion of America, and other Anti-American sentiment.
stephley stephley 8 years
If he's been held for six years, Sami was taken when al Jazeera was trying really hard to present both sides. As the war has worn on al Jazeera become more critical of the U.S. but it has never been the "media arm" of the enemy.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
This is very similar to what we did to the Japanese after Pearl Harbor. This guy was employed by the media arm of the enemy, and since we could get him, we did. I like the idea of keeping enemies of the US off US soil. Does bringing captured enemy combatants to the US seem a little like opening the door to the castle to let the invading army in after they knock?
yesteryear yesteryear 8 years
there can't be any reason to keep it in cuba that isn't in some way dubious. if they can't use the type of interrogation techniques they use at guantanamo here in the US then we shouldn't be using them at all. ahh, those darn geneva conventions and their quaintness.
hausfrau hausfrau 8 years
Yea to be honest Cine I haven't looked that deep into it...
cine_lover cine_lover 8 years
I have a very close ex navy friend who went on a whole rant about why to keep it open. To the point where I wrote down some of the key points to research, which is why I say I am torn. He said a lot of interrogation liberties would be lost if it shut down, but I don't know why. So until I research it enough, I can't say strongly either way how I feel about it.
zeze zeze 8 years
ugh! does this stuff even surprise people anymore? ...this administration (and I am not a liberal) has become too much like the enemies they are hunting, or at least we think they are hunting, who the hell knows what the plan is at this point? It's wonderful all us "patriots" turn up our noses at all these other "primitive" countries without rights, freedoms, tolerance, and JUSTICE - and we talk about the greatness of the constitution and the foundations of freedom the country was built on, yet we see the people in charge doing everything to the contrary of what we as Americans should stand for, and yet so many of us look at this story, and thousands of others and issues of torture and lies and deceit and injustice with more suspicion than could ever be warranted. I'm a fan of knowing the facts, but really, a story like this and the first thing people are concerned with is to disprove "make sure it's real." It's funny how no one is ever concerned with the "facts" when it works against our politics. We all don't wantto believe the crap going on out there because we are so stuck on our party politics and being concerned with being right. Stories like this make me sick not because the are new, but because they are getting so old.
hausfrau hausfrau 8 years
Snaps for us Liberty!! Cine, I think its a PR thing for me. We're still going to interrogate people, we always will. But I think we would get some much needed points around the world if we shut down Gitmo. Plus why do we need it strategically you know? I don't really understand the point of it being in Cuba in the first place...
Blondie99 Blondie99 8 years
America is fighting wars to defend democracy? and the free world? well who is going to defend the rest of the world from our tyrannical and undemocratic practices: torture, suspension of habius corpus... come on people!!
cine_lover cine_lover 8 years
I am torn cabaker. So I suppose we do not agree on this one. Oh well. We can't agree on them all.
LibertySugar LibertySugar 8 years
Ah ha! So we agree, cabaker!
hausfrau hausfrau 8 years
I do think we should shut down Gitmo though and I've thought that for a while now.
MSucre MSucre 8 years
We should not let irresponsible, and perhaps corrupt, officials take advantage of the goodwill and respect Americans have toward the brave men and women in the military. This story should be very troubling to every American. There is only one side to these facts: a man was held in prison for 6 years without a single charge. This is not democracy, this not the rule of law, this is not America. It has nothing to do with being pro or anti-military.
stephley stephley 8 years
Remember Sami, the guy who started all this? I just got an email about an article on him from CJR (Columbia Journalism Review) last summer: http://www.cjr.org/cover_story/prisoner_345.php?page=all And nothing that's happened here has been enough to keep me from coming back, unlike the HuffPo and Mojo and Alternet. So I must like you guys.
hausfrau hausfrau 8 years
Steph I don't think we could all agree on someone who would be middle of the road!! haha!
hausfrau hausfrau 8 years
Hahah Liberty that made me laugh out loud! I heart you guys, even if you lean to the left ;)
cine_lover cine_lover 8 years
:true: Steph.
stephley stephley 8 years
What we need is someone who is totally middle of the road to rate the site, but none of us would be able to comprehend their mushiness.
syako syako 8 years
liberty I swear your little avatar did a little b-word head snap after that comment. :rotfl: that was priceless.
cine_lover cine_lover 8 years
How is it biased? If you only depict one side of the story, that is biased.
cine_lover cine_lover 8 years
"Well I think the conservative side only sees the light of day because of the comments." I totally agree cabaker! :rotfl: Liberty!
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