Freelance Afghan journalist Javed Yazamy was released Sunday after spending 10 months in a U.S. military prison.
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan -- A respected Afghan freelance journalist employed by several Canadian news organizations has been set free after 10 months in an American military prison.
Javed Yazamy, known by his nickname Jojo, was unexpectedly set free on Sunday.
No reason was ever given for Yazamy's arrest.
But the 22-year-old journalist, who was eventually dubbed an enemy combatant by U.S. authorities, had developed contacts with the Taliban during his work as a reporter and fixer.
He worked primarily as a cameraman for CTV but was popular among other Canadian reporters based at Kandahar Air Field and worked for other organizations, including The Canadian Press.
Western reporters in Afghanistan rely on trusted locals such as Yazamy for transportation and interpreting. Often, they conduct interviews or shoot video in places where it would be too risky for their employers to go.
Their advice on personal safety can be crucial.
In February, Yazamy -- by then a prisoner at the U.S. military base in Bagram -- was designated an unlawful enemy combatant by American authorities.
U.S. authorities said they had determined there was credible information to detain him because he was dangerous to foreign troops and the Afghan government.
The substance of that information was never revealed.
Capt. Christian Patterson, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition said Monday, that Ahmad was released because was no longer considered a threat.
Yazamy said all he ever did was try to be an honest reporter.
"Why are they pursuing me?" he asked from Kabul. "There was no reason. I just set forth the truth, just like any journalist did."
An unreliable cellphone connection to Kandahar prevented him from describing his jail experience Monday.
"That is hell, sir. That is hell," was his summation.
Media organizations, including CTV and the New York Times, vouched for Yazamy in an effort to secure his release. The Committee to Protect Journalists also demanded that U.S. authorities disclose evidence and specify charges against him.
Yazamy credited those efforts with contributing to his release.
Speaking from a room in the best hotel in Kabul -- paid for by CTV -- Yazamy promised to return to Kandahar to resume his former profession.
"I'm the same old Jojo -- with more confidence and more contacts," he said.
Once again, another example of the US hauling off whoever they suspect is a threat, holding them for as long as they please, doing God knows what to him, and then setting him free with no charges, no explination, no apologies.