I believe we ran 21 posts in our “Who is Keith Ellison?” series last year before Ellison was elected Minnesota’s Fifth District representative last November. I summarized the Ellison research in the Weekly Standard article “Louis Farrakhan’s first congressman” and the companion post “Keith Ellison for dummies.”
This week’s Star Tribune report on Ellison’s new cause prompts me to resurrect the series for part 22:
A campaign to free a journalist imprisoned at Guantanamo gained support Thursday from the first Muslim member of Congress, who urged authorities to prosecute or release him after more than five years without charges.
Sami al-Haj, a Sudanese cameraman for Al Jazeera, was captured in 2002 as he tried to enter Afghanistan to cover the war. His lawyer says he denies any connection to terrorism and has been on a hunger strike since January to protest his confinement.
In a rare show of public support from a U.S. official, Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, a Democrat, called for a hearing to determine whether the military has legitimate reason to hold Al-Haj with about 330 other men at the prison on a Navy base in Cuba. “If he’s a bad actor, prove it. If not, let him out,” the congressman told the Associated Press.
He said he believes all Guantanamo detainees should be allowed to challenge their confinement in the courts. But he said he is particularly concerned about the detention of a journalist who, as far as he can tell, was “detained for taking pictures.”
He made the statement at the request of Al Jazeera. Ellison said he might seek a meeting with military officials or use his seat on the Judiciary Committee to press for more information about Al-Haj’s case.
Reader Norm Carpenter asks us to connect the dots, from Guantanamo, to Al Jazeera, to Ellison. Who is Keith Ellison, and whom does he represent?
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