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Management profile

Sami Al-Haj

Director

Sami Al-Haj is a Doha-based Qatari journalist. Presently, he works for Al Jazeera Media Network as The Director of Aljazeera Public Liberties & Human Rights.
Academic Qualification:
-    B.A in Political Science, Poona University- India.
-    Mmaster’s Degree in Business Administration, Nile Valley University- Sudan.#
-    As a PhD. Candidate, Sami Al haj is working on his dissertation titled: 'The Role of Media in protecting human rights', Khartoum Islamic University- Sudan.

Guantanamo Predicament:
During his deployment to Afghanistan  in 2001, Sami Alhaj was arrested by the Pakistani Army despite the fact he was field- reporting & filming for Al Jazeera Media Network. Subsequently, he had been moved and held in the United States Guantanamo Bay Camp in Cuba for over six years. 
Sami Al haj was released without charge on May 1, 2008. 
British Human Rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith represented Al Hajj throughout his detention, and was able to visit him in Guantanamo in 2005. According to Stafford Smith, Al Hajj had "endured horrendous cruelty - sexual abuse and religious persecution". Being extensively beaten, “huge scar remains on his face”. Stafford Smith also said that Al Hajj had witnessed "the Quran being flushed down the toilet by US soldiers in Afghanistan" and "expletives being written on the Muslim holy book".
On November 23, 2005, Stafford Smith said that, during (125 of 130) investigating interviews; U.S. officials had questioned Al Hajj as to whether Al Jazeera Media Network was a front for al-Qaeda.
In January, 2007, Al Hajj and several other inmates went on hunger strike in protest of their treatment in Guantanamo, during which Al Hajj lost over 55 pounds. In response to the hunger strike, Al Hajj and the other inmates were force-fed. Al Hajj's hunger strike lasted 438 days until he was set free on 1 May 2008.

When Alan Johnston, former Gaza Correspondent for the BBC, was abducted on 12 March 2007 in Gaza City by gunmen from the Army of Islam and held for 113 days; Sami Al Hajj made a plea to Johnston's captors to let the journalist go. Following his release, Johnston made a similar plea for the release of Al Hajj, being held by the United States Government in Guantanamo.
Drawing on his experience & qualifications, al-Haj is now serving as the Director of Aljazeera Center for Public Liberties & Human Rights, where his "mission is to monitor the human rights-related news and abuses and present them to TV channels and platforms".

Sami Alhaj is Global Award – winning. He has been awarded:
-    The Association for Internation Broadcasting (AIB INSI Special Award -2008-Canada).

-    Fondazione Festival Pucciniano (International Award- Reporter of the year Viareggio, 4 April 2009 – Italy). 

Sami is a Board Member of:
-    The International Press Institute, 2014 –Present.

-    Frontline Defenders, Award Committee, 2014 –Present.

-    Ali Jabber NHRC Award, Prize Giving Committee, 2012 – Present.