Wednesday, December 23, 2009

From Guantánamo to Desk at Al Jazeera

Al Jazeera - Sami al-Hajj

Of the 779 known detainees who have been held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba — terrorism suspects, sympathizers of Al Qaeda, people deemed enemy combatants by the United States military — only one was a journalist.

The journalist, Sami al-Hajj, was working for Al Jazeera as a cameraman when he was stopped by Pakistani forces on the border with Afghanistan in late 2001. The United States military accused Mr. Hajj of, among other things, falsifying documents and delivering money to Chechen rebels, although he was never charged with a crime during his years in custody.

Now, more than a year after his release, Mr. Hajj, a 40-year-old native of Sudan, is back at work at the Arabic satellite news network, leading a new desk devoted to human rights and public liberties. The captive has become the correspondent.

Sami al-Hajj with his son, Mohammed, and Al Jazeera's news director, Waddah Khanfar, during a ceremony in Sudan after his release from the Guantánamo Bay detention center in May 2008.

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