In 2007, after five years of imprisonment at Guantánamo Bay, Sami al-Hajj started a hunger strike in protest of his detainment. The Sudanese-born cameraman for the Arab network al-Jazeera had been arrested in December of 2001 and accused of being a courier for terrorists.
A year later, in 2008, with al-Hajj still in jail, Nick Kristof wrote in the New York Times:
Mr. Hajj cannot bend his knees because of abuse he received soon after his arrest, yet the toilet chair he was prescribed was removed — making it excruciating for him to use the remaining squat toilet. He is allowed a Koran, but his glasses were confiscated so he cannot read it.
All this is inhumane, but also boneheaded. Guantánamo itself does far more damage to American interests than Mr. Hajj could ever do.
Al-Hajj was released from prison that year, was awarded a press freedom award from Canada and returned to work at al-Jazeera.
Sunday, WikiLeaks and a number of international newspapers released documents that detailed his imprisonment. The reports made clear that he had been kept at Guantánamo in part to solicit information about al-Jazeera’s news-gathering process, and that the authorities considered him a low-risk inmate.
On Monday, al-Hajj went on air at al-Jazeera to discuss the revelations in the WikiLeaks documents: