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Friday, October 22, 2021

Sami Al Hajj speaks about Guantanamo experience


An organization documenting what took place at Guantanamo Bay has recently interviewed Al Jazeera’s Sami Al Hajj, who reflects on his time as the only journalist in the US facility in Cuba.

There, he spent more than six years as a detainee before being released to Sudan and later welcomed to Qatar in 2008.

In this video, he fields questions from Witness to Guantanamo, which is filming in-depth interviews with former detainees and other voices of Guantanamo, and archiving the videos for historical purposes.

During his time in prison, Al Hajj says he was tortured by US soldiers but also grew close to his lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith. “This also tell me not all the people in USA are bad. Some of them are very good and I should keep close to them,” he said, wiping away a tear.

Here’s a second video of Al Hajj, now head of Al Jazeera’s Public Liberties and Human Rights Desk, explaining his 438-day hunger strike and the details of his release.

Qatar may see more Gitmo prisoners in the next few years, if US-Taliban talks continue successfully. As part of an agreement between the two groups, five Taliban prisoners would be exchanged for a detained U.S. solider, and sent to Qatar.


Credit: Photo courtesy of Witness to Guantanamo

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