Sami Alhaj is a journalist.
As a journalist, Sami always knew that he would be exposing himself to danger as he worked to deliver truth to his viewers, as journalism is one of the most dangerous occupations around the world today.
But for over six years, Sami found himself a symbol of all that is wrong with the US “war on terror” and the camp of horrors they set up to support it.
Sami was arrested by Pakistani authorities on false charges in early 2001, then transferred to US custody. He spent over six years in the American prison camp in Guantánamo, Cuba, before he was finally released and charges dropped.
This is Sami’s story, told in his own words, in an act of generosity as he shares his pain with us. The story is told at his own pace, as the memories of those years in Guantánamo came flooding back to him after he returned to Al Jazeera in Doha.
“To have a brilliant and courageous journalist for a client in Guantánamo Bay was all I could have wished for. Sami’s work from inside the belly of the beast, revealing dark truths the US military would rather have kept well hidden, and contributed more to a true understanding of that dreadful place than anything else in the last 15 years. It is well past time that his story should be told at full length.”
Clive Stafford Smith, Sami’s lawyer
Some years ago, a female US soldier who guarded us at Guantánamo got in touch with me.
This is what she said: “You can inform the brothers that their strength has inspired me to accept Islam. May Allah protect you and guide you along the righteous path.”