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Aljazeera cameraman 'asked to spy'

2005-09-26 09:17:00

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Aljazeera cameraman 'asked to spy'
by
Monday 26 September 2005 7:36 AM GMT

Al-Hajj has been in Guantanamo prison after his arrest in 2001

An Aljazeera cameraman, held at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp, has been promised release if he spies on his colleagues at the channel, Britain's The Guardian newspaper reports.

The Guardian reported on Monday that the US military told Sami Muhyi al-Din al-Hajj that he would be released as long as he agreed to spy on journalists at Aljazeera.



In documents seen by the Guardian newspaper, al-Hajj says US military personnel alleged during interrogation that Aljazeera has been infiltrated by al-Qaida and that one of its presenters is linked to Islamists.



The documents state some of the interviews have been carried out by British interrogators, who also wanted the cameraman to spy for them.



Al-Hajj's allegations are written in note form during visits he received in Guantanamo in June this year from his lawyer Clive Stafford-Smith.



The notes have been declassified by the US military.



Al-Qaida front



The documents appear to show that the American military views Aljazeera as an al-Qaida front.



"The Americans have tried to make him an informant with the goal of getting him to say that Aljazeera is linked to al-Qaida," Stafford-Smith told Aljazeera.net earlier this year.

"Sami Muhyi al-Din al-Hajj is completely innocent ... . The only reason he has been treated like he has is because he is an Aljazeera journalist"

Clive Stafford-Smith,
al-Hajj lawyer
Al-Hajj said that in one session of questioning he was offered US citizenship if he became a spy.



He was told: "We will help you write a book and then we will publish it. This will help make the al-Qaida people contact you, and work with you.'"



Al-Hajj, a Sudanese national, was arrested in late 2001 while working for Aljazeera in Afghanistan.



The British lawyer said: "He is completely innocent. He is about as much of a terrorist as my granddad. The only reason he has been treated like he has is because he is an Aljazeera journalist.



"The problem is that nobody is putting pressure on the Americans to release him. One word from the government of Sudan or Qatar would suffice."

Aljazeera + Agencies
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You can find this article at:
http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/B9385987-B2F9-4705-8EB1-7469A0A6C9A6.htm

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