Local News Political Analysis

Former Guantanamo Detainee Speaks Out

A former detainee at the notorious Guantanamo prison camp in Cuba, al-Jazeera photographer Sami al-Haj demanded that the Yemeni authorities increase pressure on the United States until all detainees are released.

Standing in solidarity with the Yemeni detainees at the prisons of Guantanamo and Bagram, Afghanistan, the National Organization for Defending Rights and Freedoms “Hud” held a seminar on Saturday in the presence of a number of detainees’ families and human rights activists as well as Sami al-Haj, whom organizers described as “a prisoner and survivor of Guantanamo.”

In a speech, al-Haj announce, “we and all freedom fighters of this world will continue petitioning the authorities, and this demand will take a long time and requires that its proponents are unified.”

He added, “I came to Yemen in order to help in the return of our brothers in the prisons to a happy homecoming with their families. The American administration lied to everyone with its false promises.

“We were all happy when Obama got elected, yet he lied to his nation and said that the U.S government would release the detainees.”

Abdurrahman Barman, executive director of Hud Organization, said that Sami al-Haj was selected by the group for a global campaign to demand the closure of Guantanamo and Bagram.

He also mentioned that the survival of the detainees is not a stigma attached to America, but a shame on the rulers of regional states.

“Ten Years later and these prisons still exist,” Barman said, pointing out that there are still 116 detainees in Guantanamo, two died and 21 were released, but another 91 are still detained.

“We need strong cries from the media, families and all the free press for the release of the detainees,” he concluded.