Sami al-Haj – freed in May 2008 after more than six years – to launch legal action against former US president
by Gwladys Fouché in Oslo
The case will be initiated by the Guantánamo Justice Centre, a new organisation open to former prisoners at the US base, which will set up its international headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, later this month.
"The purpose of our organisation is to open a case against the Bush administration," said co-founder Sami al-Haj, an al-Jazeera reporter from Sudan who was illegally detained by US authorities for over six years after being captured while he was working as a cameraman. He was freed in May 2008.
"We need to start our organisation first and then we will prepare a whole case. We don't want to do this case by case," said the 40-year-old journalist during a recent visit to Oslo.
"We are in the process of collecting information from all the people, such as medical evidence. It takes time," he said.
He added: "I need them to go to court … we don't want [what happened to us] to be repeated again."
The legal action may be modelled on an action against General Augusto Pinochet, who was arrested in the UK in 1998 at the request of a Spanish prosecutor for the alleged murders of Spanish citizens in Chile under his dictatorship.