Al Jazeera television network said Wednesday that its Guantanamo Bay detained cameraman who has been on a food strike for almost a year was in urgent need of medical care.
Independent medical experts from the United States and Britain, reviewing recent conversations with Sami al Haj, reported that his mental state has deteriorated severely and he is in desperate need of medical attention, said an Al Jazeera statement received in Manama.
Based on recent comments from Sami, noted experts believe that he is suffering from severe depression, and characterize him as "passively suicidal."
According to reports, Sami, who has been detained in Guantanamo Bay since January 7, 2002, believes that he has nothing to live for.
The network, citing the apparent deterioration of Sami's mental state, appealed to the US administration and military to conform to international human rights standards and to provide him with medical attention.
"Our colleague Sami has been in detention now for almost six years without any charges and is suffering greatly from this unfair and illegal detention," said Al Jazeera director general Wadah Khanfar. "We demand the US officials to release him immediately."
Sami, who is also known as "prisoner 345," was detained without any charges after being captured while filming a news story in Afghanistan for Al Jazeera during the early stages of the war.
He is originally from Sudan, married and father of a young son.
Al Jazeera network started out ten years ago as the first Arabic channel dedicated to providing comprehensive, independent television news and live debate for the Arab world.
The network now has an estimated audience of over 50 million viewers and in 2005 was ranked by Inter-Brand as the most recognizable and influential news brand globally.
Al Jazeera has over the years created a number of other channels and services, including the recent launch of an English service.
Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2007, 11:54