Guantanamo detainee Sami al-Hajj: - Journalists must unite

Imprisoned for six years, Al-Jazeera journalist Sami al-Hajj reminded journalists from all over the world that journalists all have one mission.

William E. Graham, Hilde Marie Tvedten, Ingrid Hvidsten, Mari Hauge ├ůsland 12.09.2008 00:06
Sami al-Hajj
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Sami al-Hajj and Håkon Haugsbø. Photos: William E. Graham

Sami al-Hajj was imprisoned at the American Guantánamo base in Cuba for six years, and was released may this year after 17 months of hunger strike. Western media were almost ignoring the fact that one of their colleagues were imprisoned. During the years imprisoned, al-Hajj became one of his lawyers best sources revealing what happened inside the Guantánamo base. 

- The worst thing freeing al-Hajj was to loose my best source, as Deborah Manning read from a statement made by al-Hajj’s lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith.
 
- The American government was idiots to keep him in Guantánamo.
 
Al-Hajj stated that if journalists wont’t cover each other, who will?
 
- It is our responsibility to uncover the truth.
 
Samis lawyer used to tell the American government they were idiots to keep him in Guantánamo. During the session In Weidemann 3, Deborah Manning read a statement from Clive Stafford Smith
 
As a surprise for the evening, al-Hajj was invited to receive the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression’s annual Press Freedom Award in Toronto later this year.
 
He was awarded this prize "because of the courage and strength he displayed under extraordinary oppression, and of his power of his story in advocating for journalists rights," said Christopher Wilson of the Global Forum on Freedom of Expression, presenting the invitation.