The Al Jazeera cameraman Sami al-Haj has been released from Guantanamo. He was detained in Guantanamo for nearly six-and-a-half years without a trial or any charges brought against him. He was arrested in Pakistan in December of 2001 while traveling to Afghanistan for work with Al Jazeera, then transferred to US custody, and six months later taken to Guantanamo Bay.
SAMI AL-HAJ: [translated] I’m very happy to be in Sudan, but I’m very sad because of the situation of our brothers who remain in Guantanamo. Conditions in Guantanamo are very, very bad, and they get worse by the day. Our human condition, our human dignity was violated, and the American administration went beyond all human values, all moral values, all religious values. In Guantanamo, you have animals that are called iguanas, rats that are treated with more humanity. But we have people from more than fifty countries that are completely deprived of all rights and privileges, and they will not give them the rights that they give to animals.
For more than seven years, I did not get a chance to be brought before a civil court. To defend their just case and to get the freedom that we’re deprived of, they ignored every kind of law, every kind of religion. But thank God. I was lucky, because God allowed that I be released. Although I’m happy, there is part of me that is not, because my brothers remain behind, and they are in the hands of people that claim to be champions of peace and protectors of rights and freedoms.
But the true just peace does not come through military force or threats to use smart or stupid bombs or to threaten with economic sanctions. Justice comes from lifting oppression and guaranteeing rights and freedoms and respecting the will of the people and not to interfere with a country’s internal politics.