All over the world horrific human injustices occur; rape, torture and death whilst prisoners are held illegally. In America, the land of the free, their own inhumane, illegal torture cells were set up by the Bush administration at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, to hold detainees it had determined to be connected with opponents in the ‘Global War on Terror’. Of the 166 detainees still imprisoned, only three have been found guilty of any crime. In 2009, President Obama issued a directive to shut down Guantanamo within a year, but due to US Congressional politics it now appears that the prison will remain open indefinitely. The United States Southern Command, which oversees Guantanamo, has now requested $49 million to build a new prison building at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, for “special” detainees, bringing the bill for upgrading the deteriorating facilities to an estimated $195.7 million.
The following information is taken from the Save Shaker Aamer website…
Shaker Aamer is a Saudi national and long-term British resident, with the right to return, who has been held at Guantanamo Bay for over eleven years. Shaker Aamer has twice been approved for transfer from Guantanamo Bay, However, new US legislation governing transfers from Guantanamo Bay, and the British government’s failure to make effective representations seeking his release, means that Shaker remains imprisoned without charge in Guantanamo.
Aamer, Guantanamo detainee number 239, has never been formally charged with a crime and like most Guantanamo prisoners was not even captured by the U.S. military. Afghans villagers turned him over to U.S. troops 10 weeks before his transfer to Cuba. Aamer is also among 56 Guantanamo detainees a U.S. national security task force approved for transfer three years ago.
During his time in US detention, in Afghanistan as well as in Guantanamo Bay, Shaker has been a victim of horrific torture. Abuses suffered by Shaker Aamer in US detention include but are not limited to: beatings, lengthy interrogations, exposure to extreme cold, sensory deprivation, stress positions, white noise, sleep deprivation, long-term solitary confinement and forced feeding.
Meanwhile, Shaker’s British wife waits patiently for his return, and his four British children – the youngest of whom he has never even met – are growing up without him.
Following claims (leading to legal action) that MI5 and MI6 made “knowingly false statements” to his US captors, Caroline Lucas MP recently tabled amendments to the government’s proposed Justice and Security Bill aiming to increase accountability of the security services. She said: “The defamation of Shaker Aamer is evidence of the immense power of the security services to say whatever they want about an accused man, to devastating effect. Shaker has been cleared for release by the US government – twice – and yet remains in GuantanamoBay where he has been for eleven years, completely unable to defend himself.
“The failure of the British government to challenge this illegal incarceration is shameful and damaging – instead of pandering to the will of the US, it should be holding the security services properly to account and redoubling efforts to bring Shaker home.”
Almost every man, including Shaker Aamer in Camp 6 Guantanamo Bay is now on hunger strike. A large group of the protesters are now being force fed. The protest was reportedly caused by mistreatment including searches, restriction on exercise, abuse of the Qurans and that guards have been disrespectful during prayer times. The camp authorities have also been confiscating personal items such as family photos, books and religious CD’s. They have no other way to point out how badly they’ve been treated, to acquire the reasoning behind their situation at Guantanamo Bay whilst being innocent and to show that they are sick and tired of being held there.
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Martin Luther King, Jr. said.
From a civil liberties point-of-view Guantanamo is an American obscenity. Shaker Aamer is an innocent man.
Sign this petition to help return Shaker Aamer to the UK.