The only journalist at Guantanamo
WASHINGTON: Among those imprisoned at Guantanamo is a journalist who was handed over to US forces by Pakistani authorities in December 2001.
Sami al Hajj, a 38 year old Sudanese, was in Afghanistan as a photographer for the AI Jazeera TV network. According to a report by AP, he was stopped at the Afghan border by Pakistani authorities in December 2001, turned over to US forces and hauled in chains six months later to Guantanamo, where about 390 men are held on suspicion of links to AI Qaeda or the Taliban.
He is believed to be the only journalist from a major international news organisation held at Guantanamo.
Both AI Jazeera and the Sudanese government have been trying to find out why al-Hajj is being held but have had little luck. His presence at the detention facility was not even acknowledged by the military until last April.
According to AP, “Military documents sketch at least a partial outline of al-Hajj experiences at Guantanamo and the US grounds for holding him – that he transported money between 1996 and 2000 for a defunct charity that purportedly provided money to militant groups, and that he met a senior AI Qaeda lieutenant.”‘
Appearing before a review tribunal in August 2005, he denied any connection to terrorism. “With all due respect, a misÂtake has been made because I have never been a member of any terrorist group,” he said, according to a transcript released the following year. “I can say without hesitation that I am not a threat to the United States.” KHALIL HASAN
Source: Daily Times