Al Jazeera cameraman freed from Guantanamo
Al Jazeera cameraman Sami al-Hajj has been
released from the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay and is being flown to
Sudan, according to Al Jazeera.
Al-Hajj is expected to land in the capital Khartoum late on Thursday.
Al-Hajj was seized by Pakistani
intelligence officers while travelling near the Afghan border in December 2001.
Despite holding a legitimate visa to work for Al Jazeera's Arabic channel in Afghanistan, he was handed to the US military in January 2002 and sent to Guantanamo Bay.
Al-Hajj, who is originally from Sudan, was held as an "enemy combatant" without ever facing a trial or charges.
He has been on hunger strike since Janury 7, 2007.
Zachary Katznelson, a lawyer from the Reprieve organisation which has been working to free al-Hajj, said that the cameraman's release was probably motivated by political concerns.
"I think this is part of a larger picture between the United States and Sudan, that they are trying to bring those countries closer together," he said.
"Sudan, one of the primary demands they made to the United States, is if you want to normalise relations with us you have to give something back, and one of the things is the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay.
"There have been almost 800 people
there [Guantanamo Bay], there are about 280 that remain, the vast majority who
have gone home it is because they have done a political deal between their home
country and the United States," Katznelson said.
Al Jazeera hhas been campaigning for al-Hajj's release since his capture more than six years ago.