In the early hours of this morning Reprieve client and Al Jazeera journalist, Sami Al Haj, was finally released from Guantanamo Bay and reunited with his wife and young son in Sudan. Noticeably weak after over six years in US custody - and his 16-month hunger strike - Sami nevertheless spoke up for his fellow prisoners from his hospital bed in Khartoum. He later spoke to Zachary Katznelson, Reprieve's Senior Counsel, to thank Reprieve and our supporters for their work on his behalf.
Sami was seized by Pakistani forces on December 15, 2001, apparently at the behest of the US authorities, who suspected that he had conducted an interview with Osama bin Laden. As with much of their supposed intelligence, this turned out to be false. As a trained journalist, Sami's insights into the horrors of Guantanamo have been unparalleled. Subjected to clearance by the Pentagon's censors, his letters and his conversations with his lawyers at Reprieve have shed light on the abuse of Koran, suicide attempts, hunger strikes and the number of juveniles held at the prison.
Also released last night were two other Reprieve clients, Sami's compatriot Amir Yacoub, who, like Sami, was released without charge, and Said Al Boujaadia, a Moroccan, who was detained on arrival in Kenitra.
Reprieve remains concerned that other Sudanese and Moroccan clients are still held, and is urging their respective governments to maintain pressure on the US authorities to secure the release of these men.