Rally In Support Of Al-Jazeera Cameraman


Yet he was arrested and is still being held at Guantanamo as an “enemy combatant.” Murad Hashim, the Al-Jazeera office manger in Sana’a, gave a speech about the torments that al-Hajj has suffered. Al-Hajj was subjected to physical abuses, he said. “Also he has been subjected to a discrimination against him because he has dark skin,” he said.  Hashim offered some suggestions of ways people could help al-Hajj. “We have to send a letter to the American Embassy demanding that he be freed,” he said.
“We have come today in solidarity with al-Hajj to press on the emprisoners to free our colleague who was jailed five years ago. This rally is not held here only, it is held all over the world.”  Lawyer Mohamed Naji Allawo, the head of Hood organization for defending rights and freedoms, said that al-Hajj’s case is part and parcel of the Guantanamo issue.  “If the rights of the ordinary people have been violated, for sure the journalists’ will be too,” he said. “The United States has taken many steps backwards in regard to human rights, after the promises it made during the cold war,” he said.
Then the events of September 11 occured and along came new definitions for each action,” he said.  “What had happened after the events of September 11 is like what had happened during the Roman empire, when people were thrown to the beasts, but the jailors were worse than them, for they did not get full,” he said. “The new laws produced by the White House, like those declaring people “enemy combatants,” who don’t get any American rights or [benefit from] the international treaties,” he said. 
“From here, I send my great thanks to all the American organizations that are fighting all these unfair laws and also help us to remain in contact with the detainees in Guantanamo,” he said.  “The procedures of the Judiciary Process for the detainee are not right; the judge is not allowed to see the case file,” he said. “So, there is no wonder that there is no justice or any clear accusation,” he said.  Allawo suggested that letters be sent to the Pentagon through the Embassy and also the European Union. “I also called for all the journalist syndicates of all the Arab countries to make a protest in one day to trigger the desired effect,” he said.
“It is very important to mention that it is so superficial of all the Arab Media to say that the American media is under the control of the American policy,” said Ahmed al-Hajj, a correspondent to the Associate Press. “Many things have been revealed by the American media, not by the Arabs, so I send many thanks to all the American organizations that coordinate with the colleagues in Hood organization.” Khaled al-Anesi, the executive director of Hood, suggested a demonstration in front of the embassy as an alternative to less effective forms of protest.
“This is a real action and is better than the letters, there are millions of letters sent by very powerful American organizations or by very important people,” he said.  “Bremer (Paul Bremer was the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq 2003-2004), said in his ruling on Iraq that ‘Al-Jazeera is an enemy.’ It is our duty to defend Al-Jazeera, whether we agree with it or not on some points,” he said.  Al-Anesi said that al-Hajj was originally arrested by mistake, but that now there is little chance of that mistake being corrected.
“Al-Hajj will not be released because he now has the memory of the detainment, and with his media sense he will report everything he saw in jail,” he said.   Saeed Thabit, vice chairman of the Yemeni Journalist Syndicate, read the press release issued by the YJS to the audience. “We are, the journalists gathered here, declaring our support with the cameraman of Al-Jazeera,” he said. “So we demand his release, and ask all the NGOs and other human rights organizations to support and demand the release of al-Hajj,” he said.
Al-Jazeera has been targeted by people from all across the political spectrum.   In November 2001, the US forces shelled the al-Jazeera office in Kabul, Afghanistan. In April 2003, the US forces shelled the Al-Jazeera office in Baghdad, killing Al-Jazeera correspondent Tariq Ayyoub and injuring a cameraman. The US forces in Iraq arrested an Al-Jazeera correspondent in Mosul for 24 hours. He was held for taking photos of the Americans firing at a car full of civilians.
Swiss authorities prevented the Al-Jazeera correspondent Ahmad Kamel (based out of Brussels) from entering Geneva.  Algerian Authorities cut off the electricity to the Al-Jazeera office when they were broadcasting an episode of Opposite Direction about the Algerian civil war. The Sudanese government closed the Al-Jazeera office in Khartoum, due to the coverage of Darfur ,which the government considered “offensive.” 

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