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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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