On the 11th anniversary of Guantánamo Bay's use as a prison for foreign detainees, Democracy Now! airs an exclusive broadcast 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.
Four years after vowing to close Guantánamo and 11 years after it opened, President Obama has signed the National Defense Authorization Act barring the use of federal funds to transfer detainees from the notorious prison to U.S. soil. Of the 166 prisoners remaining at Guantánamo, 86 have been cleared for release. Obama says he signed the NDAA's renewal despite his objections to the Guantánamo provisions and maintained in a signing statement the right to override them, but Baher Azmy, legal director for the Center for Constitutional Rights, says Obama's avowal amounts to no more than a "press release."
Watch Azmy discuss these developments on Democracy Now!, just a day after Obama officially nominated John Brennan to head the CIA.
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