That is what Al-Jazeera cameraman Sami al-Hajj was doing in Dec. 2001, as he was entering Afghanistan from Pakistan to cover the U.S. military operations there. While his colleague was allowed in, al-Hajj was arrested, in what was to be a harrowing, nightmarish odyssey that lasted close to seven years, most of it spent as prisoner 345, the only journalist imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay—without charge. Al-Hajj is out now, back at work at Al-Jazeera and reunited with his family. His recollections of the horror of detention by the United States should be front and center in the forthcoming confirmation hearings for President Barack Obama’s choice the lead the CIA, John Brennan. It has been 11 years since the Guantanamo prison was opened, and four years since President Obama promised to close it within a year.
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