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And, yes, I DO take it personally: Sami al-Hajj released from Guantánamo: "Rats are treated with more humanity"
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Friday, May 02, 2008

Sami al-Hajj released from Guantánamo: "Rats are treated with more humanity"

"Our human condition, our human dignity was violated, and the American administration went beyond all human values, all moral values, all religious values.

"In Guantanamo ... rats are treated with more humanity. But we have people from more than 50 countries that are completely deprived of all rights and privileges.

"And they will not give them the rights that they give animals," he said.

i've been watching the france 24 video of al-haj being wheeled on a stretcher into the hospital in khartoum, a shell of a man with a big smile on his face...
An Al-Jazeera cameraman was released from U.S. custody at Guantánamo Bay and returned home to Sudan early Friday after six years of imprisonment that drew worldwide protests.

Sami al-Haj, who had been on a hunger strike for 16 months, grimaced as he was carried off a U.S. military plane by American personnel in Sudan's capital, Khartoum. He was put on a stretcher and taken straight to a hospital.

Al-Jazeera showed footage of al-Haj being carried into the hospital, looking feeble and with his eyes closed, but smiling. Some of the men surrounding his stretcher were kissing him on the cheek.

"Thank God ... for being free again," he told Al-Jazeera from his hospital bed. "Our eyes have the right to shed tears after we have spent all those years in prison. ... But our joy is not going to be complete until our brothers in Guantánamo Bay are freed," he added.

"The situation is very bad and getting worse day after day," he said of conditions in Guantánamo. He claimed guards prevent Muslims from practicing their religion and reading the Quran.

"Some of our brothers live without clothing," he said.


Attorney Zachary Katznelson of Reprieve, who met al-Haj at Guantanamo on April 11, said he was "emaciated" because of his hunger strike. and had recently been having problems with his liver and kidneys and had blood in his urine.

"Sami is a poster child for everything that is wrong about Guantanamo Bay: No charges, no trial, constantly shifting allegations, brutal treatment, no visits with family, not even a phone call home," Katznelson said Thursday.

"Sami was never alleged to have hurt a soul, and was never proven to have committed any crimes. Yet, he had fewer rights than convicted mass murderers or rapists. What has happened to American justice?"

martin mubanga, a former guantánamo detainee, shares his recollections of sami...

after arriving in khartoum, sami speaks about his experience...

if sami didn't enter guantánamo as a radical, he is surely one now...

as a sidenote, thanks to satellite receiver problems, i am now down to two english language tv news services, al jazeera and france 24... while i rarely turn to any tv news service for my information (usually only for major breaking news or, as i am doing this morning, for background entertainment), i can tell you very honestly that both services are far superior to cnni (and VASTLY superior to cnn's domestic service) in their presentation of broad and deep perspectives on world news that would be startlingly unfamiliar to those accustomed to u.s. tv news outlets... imho, there are only two reasons the u.s. govt is so down on al jazeera... one, it's run by an islamic nation and two, it doesn't toe the u.s. line... france 24 doesn't toe the u.s. line either but one of those reasons - the bigger one - doesn't apply..
Al-Jazeera is based in Qatar and is funded by the royal family of the Persian Gulf nation. Its Arabic channel has been excoriated by the Bush administration as a mouthpiece for terrorists including Osama bin Laden.

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