Sunday, May 1, 2011
Innocent Sami al-Hazz Detained Six Years
Sami al-Hajj, Al Jazeera Cameraman Held at Guantanamo Bay for Six Years, Detained over His “Intelligence Value” as an Al Jazeera Employee
By Paul Mutter
Sami al-Hajj (pictured), a 42year old Sudanese man, was an Al Jazeera journalist detained by Pakistani authorities on December 15, 2001 when he and a colleague attempted to leave Afghanistan. The Pakistanis then turned him over to U.S. forces as a suspected “enemy combatant.”
He was eventually sent to Guantanamo Bay, where he arrived on June 14, 2002. He then spent the next six years there, until he was cleared of all charges in 2008.
Al-Hajj was considered an “enemy combatant” whose “access to senior terrorist leaders demonstrates his probable connections to the al-Qaida network and other militant jihadist organizations . . . . Detainee is a member of al-Qaida who is an expert in logistics with direct ties to al-Qaida leadership.”
However, new evidence has come to light that shows the U.S. government hoped to use al-Hajj as a source of intelligence, perhaps even an informant, on Al Jazeera’s work, either to spy on the network’s operations, or to track down Taliban and al Qaeda leaders.