U.S. Releases Journalist After 6 Years
Sami Al-Haj, a cameraman for Al-Jazeera, was released Thursday evening after spending almost seven years in U.S. custody, six of those as an inmate at Guantanamo Bay. Al-Haj was never charged with any crime, nor was any evidence against him ever revealed.
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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.
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