May 02, 2008

Al Jazeera cameraman, Sami al-Hajj, freed !!

A cameraman from the al-Jazeera television station has been freed from US detention in Guantanamo Bay, the channel says.

Sami al-Hajj had been in US custody for more than six years. He was detained in Afghanistan in 2001.

He is now returning home to Sudan, al-Jazeera says.

"We are in a state of high expectation and we are overwhelmed with joy," said Wadah Khanfar, managing director of al-Jazeera's Arabic service.

There was no immediate US comment.

Mr Hajj was freed from Guantanamo and was being flown to Sudan, al-Jazeera said, quoting unnamed sources.

The channel said that he was expected to arrive in Khartoum shortly.

Mr Hajj was working as a cameraman for al-Jazeera when he was arrested by Pakistani troops near the Afghan border in December 2001 and later handed over to the US military.

Sami al-Hajj, who was 38 at the time, was accused of links to militant groups but has not been charged.

He has denied the allegations against him and his employers at al-Jazeera say the charges are politically motivated.


Humiliated In The Shackles

By Sami al Hajj

When I heard pigeons cooing in the trees,

Hot tears covered my face.

When the lark chirped, my thoughts composed

A message for my son.

Mohammad, I am afflicted.

In my despair, I have no one but Allah for comfort.

The oppressors are playing with me,

As they move freely around the world.

They ask me to spy on my countrymen,

Claiming it would be a good deed.

They offer me money and land,

And freedom to go where I please.

Their temptations seize

My attention like lightning in the sky.

But their gift is an empty snake,

Carrying hypocrisy in its mouth like venom,

They have monuments to liberty

And freedom of opinion, which is well and good.

But I explained to them that

Architecture is not justice.

America, you ride on the backs of orphans,

And terrorize them daily.

Bush, beware.

The world recognizes an arrogant liar.

To Allah I direct my grievance and my tears.

I am homesick and oppressed.

Mohammad, do not forget me.

Support the cause of your father, a God-fearing man.

I was humiliated in the shackles.

How can I now compose verses? How can I now write?

After the shackles and the nights and the suffering and the tears,

How can I write poetry?

My soul is like a roiling sea, stirred by anguish,

Violent with passion.

I am a captive, but the crimes are my captors'.

I am overwhelmed with apprehension.

Lord, unite me with my son Mohammad.

Lord, grant success to the righteous.

An Al-Jazeera cameraman, Sami al Hajj, a Sudanese, was visiting his brother in Damascus after the 11 September attacks when he got a call asking him to go to Pakistan to cover the impending war in Afghanistan. Instead, he ended up in Guantanamo where he claims he has been severely and regularly beaten, scarring his face.

No comments: