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Tue Jan 8, 2013, 08:48 PM

Exclusive: As Gitmo Turns 11, Al Jazeera's Sami Al-Hajj on 6-Yr Ordeal of US Detention, Torture.

DemocracyNow.org - On the 11th anniversary of Guantánamo Bay's use as a prison for foreign detainees, we air a Democracy Now! exclusive interview with Sami al-Hajj, the only journalist held at Guantánamo. The Al Jazeera cameraman was arrested in Pakistan in December of 2001 while traveling to Afghanistan on a work assignment. Held for six years without charge, al-Hajj was repeatedly tortured, hooded, attacked by dogs and hung from a ceiling. Interrogators questioned him over 100 times about whether Al Jazeera was a front for al-Qaeda. In January 2007, he began a hunger strike that lasted 438 days until his release in May 2008.

Now the head of Al Jazeera's human rights and public liberties desk, al-Hajj sits down for a rare interview with Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman in Doha, Qatar.

To watch the entire weekday independent news hour, read the transcript, download the podcast, search our vast archive, or to find more information about Democracy Now! and Amy Goodman, visit http://www.democracynow.org.

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Reply Exclusive: As Gitmo Turns 11, Al Jazeera's Sami Al-Hajj on 6-Yr Ordeal of US Detention, Torture. (Original post)
rachel1 Jan 2013 OP
Catherina Aug 2013 #1

Response to rachel1 (Original post)

Thu Aug 8, 2013, 12:38 PM

1. Having sex in front of prisoners is now an interrogation technique? We have totally lost our way.


At Guantánamo, he was repeatedly beaten and tortured. In both Afghanistan and in Guantánamo, he was attacked. He was attacked by dogs. He was hooded. He was hung from the ceiling. He was prevented from sleeping for days. Interrogators questioned him more than a hundred times. A number of those interrogations included questions about who his bosses were at Al Jazeera.

In January of 2007, Sami al-Hajj began a hunger strike to protest his imprisonment. The hunger strike continued for 438 days until his release in May of 2008.


SAMI AL-HAJJ: They do—they do that, not for me. For me—they done it for another detainees. But they do sexuals in front of me. They bring one from soldiers, female and man, and they do it in front of me. And when they took me to interrogators room, I find that magazine. And sometimes they put video, and they put all the rooms dark, and they start putting film.

AMY GOODMAN: Did they show that to you?

SAMI AL-HAJJ: Yes, this film.

AMY GOODMAN: So they—pornography, in the film.

SAMI AL-HAJJ: In front of me.

AMY GOODMAN: Yes, they show you a film.

SAMI AL-HAJJ: Yes, yes. And you’ll find magazine everywheres in the room of interrogator, because we are stopping answer questions.

AMY GOODMAN: When you refused to answer questions.

SAMI AL-HAJJ: Yes, when we refuse to answer. They say they are doing that, and they leave you. They leave you in the room for eight hours, nine hours, like that. And then they came and take you back to your—

AMY GOODMAN: Now, you said they brought male and female soldiers in front of you.

SAMI AL-HAJJ: Yes, they do that in front of me, yes.

AMY GOODMAN: And what did they do?

SAMI AL-HAJJ: They do a whole sexuals.

AMY GOODMAN: You watch a—

SAMI AL-HAJJ: Yes, yes, I watch him.

AMY GOODMAN: You watch a man—

SAMI AL-HAJJ: And they’re wearing their clothes, and they come and take me to my block after that.

AMY GOODMAN: Did you—men and women together?

SAMI AL-HAJJ: Yes, yes.

AMY GOODMAN: So you’re watching men and women have sex—


AMY GOODMAN: —in front of you.

SAMI AL-HAJJ: Yes. After that, they go out. And after that, they came and removed my—

AMY GOODMAN: Shackles.

SAMI AL-HAJJ: —shackles, and they take me to my block, the same soldiers.

AMY GOODMAN: The soldiers who were having sex—

SAMI AL-HAJJ: Yes, yes.

AMY GOODMAN: —then take you to your block.


AMY GOODMAN: Did they ever strike your face?

SAMI AL-HAJJ: Yes, they beat me. Beating, this normally. Every day they can beat you, and they can using the force team to come inside your room and beat you and search you. And many times, they took my head and beat me by the ground until the blood coming. Many, many times; it’s not one times. This is normal, these things, for them to do it there.

AMY GOODMAN: The questions they asked you about Al Jazeera, they asked you about was there a link, who was the link, with al-Qaeda?


AMY GOODMAN: What else? Did they ask you about the heads of the organization?

SAMI AL-HAJJ: Yes, they asked me about the people who are working Al Jazeera here, the background of them, and who paid Al Jazeera money, and who help Al Jazeera, and what’s the purpose of Al Jazeera, why the Al Jazeera send people to war place.

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