Jawed Ahmad, who worked primarily for CTV, describes his treatment while being detained after being released in Kandahar City on Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2008.
Jawed Ahmad, who worked primarily for CTV, hugs a family member after being released in Kandahar City on Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2008.
Freed Afghan journalist reunited with family
Updated Wed. Sep. 24 2008 11:16 AM ET
CTV.ca News Staff
An Afghan journalist held in a U.S. military prison for nearly one year was reunited with his family in Kandahar City Wednesday.
U.S. officials released Jawed Yazamy, in his early 20s, Sunday after holding him for 11 months at a base in Bagram, near Kabul.
Yazamy, who was working for CTV prior to his arrest, had passes to enter Kandahar Air Field and had drawn the suspicions of both the Americans and Canadians, CTV's Paul Workman said Wednesday.
"They... felt that he was really much too close to the Taliban and had greater suspicions that he was not just working as a journalist and they decided that he was a security risk and did not want him on the base," Workman told CTV Newsnet from Kandahar.
"I know for a fact that the Canadians were involved in that and felt exactly that."
On Oct. 26, 2007, Yazamy was arrested at the base in Kandahar and held for nine days before being transferred to Bagram.
Yazamy, known by friends as Jojo, claims he was mistreated while being held in Kandahar.
He says U.S. Special Forces beat him and kept awake for days at a time.
"Whenever I try to sleep they would shout 'Get up, get up' and then 'Jojo is a spy. Jojo is al Qaeda. Jojo is Taliban. Jojo is finished,'" Yazamy told Workman.
Yazamy, who was designated as an "enemy combatant," said he was also told that his family had been arrested and that he was being sent to Guantanamo Bay.
"The way they treat me, I really believe they arrested my family, and yes I believe that I was being sent to Cuba and my life was finished," he said.
In Bagram, Yazamy said soldiers forced him to stand on the snowy runway with no shoes for six hours. He said he passed out twice but was forced to stand back up.
Aside from that incident, Yazamy said he was not abused while in Bagram. However, he said he was beaten by fellow prisoners and, during one incident, had some of the ribs on the left side of his body broken.
The Americans accused him of supplying weapons and information to the militants.
But Yazamy said it was part of his job as a journalist to have frequent contact with the Taliban.
"I told them as a journalist I have a right to talk to the Taliban, talk to al Qaeda," he said.
After his arrest, various groups launched a campaign to pressure the U.S. to release him, Workman said.
"They reviewed the case and then simply said he was no longer a risk," Workman said.
With files from The Associated Press