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Posted On: 1 June 2008 08:18 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:08 pm

Sami Al Haj is welcomed after torture by America

Khalifa Al Haroon
Khalifa Al Haroon
Your friendly neighborhood Qatari
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Al Jazeera cameraman Sami Al Haj arrived in Doha yesterday to a rousing welcome. Wearing a light gray suit and carrying a staff for support, he disembarked from a Qatar Airways private jet and was welcomed at the tarmac by senior officials of Al Jazeera and friends. He came directly from Khartoum where he was undergoing treatment after being released from Guantanamo Bay where he was imprisoned for more than six years, 16 months of which he spent in hunger strike. After a short meeting with friends and an address to the media, he immediately proceeded to the Airport Park where hundreds of supporters awaited him. They waved blue flags with Arabic and English inscriptions saying 'Sami Al Haj Now Free'. Posters of him were also placed strategically around the park. Although he looked thinner and older, he wore a smile on his face as he was greeted by well-wishers. Before even reaching the platform, the crowd gathered around Al Haj shouting ‘God is Great’ and many took pictures to capture the emotional moments. People carried him on their shoulders amidst shouts and chants which took quite a while to die down. He delivered a short speech in Arabic saying, “I want to convey my gratitude to those who showed their support when I was in Guantanamo.” He further said he was very happy to return to Doha, and was overwhelmed by the same feeling when he arrived in Khartoum on May 1 as he considers Doha his second home. “Six years and seven months was stolen from my life in Guantanamo camp under torture and inhuman treatment by those who call themselves democratic people,” Al Haj said “This captivity has made me more steadfast in defending the values of truth and righteousness because people deserve to live with dignity," he added White doves were released as he ended his speech. Sami said he would return to his profession. The Peninsula