Monday, May 11, 2009

Journalist released from Iranian prison - but what about our detainees?

Roxana Saberi, an Iranian-American journalist, was detained by Iranian officials months ago under the premise of being a spy for the U.S. This action was justly decried by the media and our government.

She has now been released from prison after much action in support of her release. This is a great step for Iran and hopefully will serve to further bridge American and Iranian diplomacy. However, we can't stop looking at this issue. In the past 8 years, our own government has done much worse than a 4 month prison sentence.

What about the case of Sami al-Hajj, a cameraman for Al-Jazeera who was held in Guantanamo for SIX YEARS only to be released without any charges? At least the Iranian government convicted Saberi of something. We, on the other hand, simply detained someone without any charges and held them for six years despite having no evidence that indicted him of any wrongdoing. I want you to ask yourself if you have ever even heard of this name. He has gotten no play in American media, but Middle Eastern media has been all over this debacle since his inprisonment.

Or how about Bilal Hussein? He was detained for two years for allegedly aiding insurgents and was in possession of explosive devices. However he was never tried and was released without being convicted of anything and without charges.

And now Ibrahim Jassam continues to be imprisoned in Iraq. Now this is a case that should have all Americans, we defenders of free press and resistors of government intrusion. Jassam was actually put up to trial in Iraq. The court ruled that there was no evidence against him and ordered him released. Not only are we holding him without charges, he has been found innocent in an Iraqi court.

So where is all the commotion against these injustices? Where is the uproar about this suppression of free press? Why hasn't anyone heard of these names? Our media has failed us in their supposed watchdog responsibility and our military continues to abridge the freedoms that they purport to protect.