Freed journalist's Al Jazeera promotion
Sami al Haj, an Al Jazeera journalist, has just spent 6 years at the notorious Guantanamo Bay detention centre only to be released in May without charge. The news station has just promoted him to a new responsibility, looking after the channel’s Liberties and Human Rights Issues.
According to Al Jazeera, in his new position, Sami will follow human rights and civil liberties issues closely, ensuring that they receive prominent coverage on Al Jazeera. Working closely with human rights groups and experts around the world, Sami will help produce features and documentaries that raise public awareness and educate people regarding human rights issues, from the international legal and political debates that take place in global centres of power to the acute suffering of those who have their rights violated.
Commenting on his new position, Sami al Haj stated, “I am thrilled to be working for Al Jazeera again and to be working on issues that matter so dearly to me. Obviously, the protection of human rights and civil liberties is extremely important, and I hope to use my new position as a vehicle to show the world that human rights abuses still occur all over the globe. Hopefully, through this work, Al Jazeera can play some role in helping people around the world who have suffered too long in silence.”
Wadah Khanfar, Director General at the Al Jazeera Network stated, "We are pleased to have Sami back at work, performing a role that is very important to Al Jazeera. The Network has always strived to provide a voice to the voiceless and to tell the story of the weak and abused, and by creating this new position, we are further demonstrating this commitment. We hope that our work will help those who feel alone realize that they have friends and allies who care about their plight."
Sami was detained on December 15, 2001 by Pakistani border authorities while attempting to cross into the country on assignment for Al Jazeera. He was transferred to American military custody, and after six months, was placed in Guantanamo Bay. Sami was held without charge and without open and transparent legal hearings. Finally, in May 2008, Sami was released and returned to his family.