RHC | Al Jazeera cameraman Sami al-Haj has been released from the U.S.-run military prison at GuantÃ¡namo. Arrested in Pakistan in December 2001, al-Haj had spent nearly six-and-a-half years at GuantÃ¡namo without charge or trial. He had been on a more than a year-long hunger strike to protest his imprisonment.
Earlier today, al-Haj landed in his hometown of Khartoum, Sudan, where he was immediately rushed to a hospital. After a tearful reunion with his family, al-Haj said he worried for the prisoners he left behind at GuantÃ¡namo. He told reporters that he was happy to be released, but concerned about the situation of his brothers who remain in GuantÃ¡namo. Al-Haj said that the conditions at the U.S. prison are “very, very bad, and they get worse by the day” — adding that the prisoners’ human dignity is constantly being violated.
Sami al-Haj was flown into Sudan on a U.S. military aircraft along with two other GuantÃ¡namo prisoners. They told Al Jazeera they were blindfolded, handcuffed and chained to their seats during the flight home. According to Al Jazeera Director General Wadah Khanfar, the U.S. military tried to coerce al-Haj into spying on his employers at the network.