UK

Guantanamo Campaign To Free Shaker Aamer Brings Giant Inflatable To Westminster

24/11/2014 13:45 GMT | Updated 24/11/2014 13:59 GMT

Politicians and celebrities have posed with a giant inflatable to support the last British man in Guantánamo, accusing governments of leaving Shaker Aamer to rot.

The 'We Stand With Shaker' campaign marks the 13th anniversary of the capture of 45-year-old Aamer, a father-of-four, who campaigners say had travelled to Afghanistan for humanitarian reasons when he was captured by bounty hunters and eventually transferred to American forces, who sent him to the prison camp in Cuba.

Aamer has been cleared for released twice, first under President Bush in 2007 and then under President Obama in 2009, and British authorities have lobbied for his release for seven years. Yet he remains at the detention centre with little explanation as to why he has not been released.

Celebrities including Pink Floyd's Roget Waters, comedian Jeremy Hardy and Green MP Caroline Lucas are now calling for his release.

Clive Stafford-Smith, the human rights lawyer and founder of Reprieve who represents Aamer, told HuffPost UK: "After all that he has been through in Guantanamo Bay, Shaker Aamer is now truly larger than life.

"His supporters have commissioned an ‘Inflatable Shaker’ that stands twelve feet tall, to remind everyone of his plight.

"Most important of all, the enormous Shaker will be peering at the MI6 headquarters at Vauxhall, since it is clearly there that the main responsibility for his continued detention lies, more than 7 years after he was cleared for release."

Several other celebrities, including campaigner Jemima Khan, journalist Nick Davies, poet Benjamin Zephaniah, and actress Juliet Stevenson will pose with signs showing their support in forthcoming days.

“It is worth repeating – because it remains so shocking – that Shaker has never been charged with any offence," Lucas told HuffPost UK.

"And despite huge international support for his release, despite welcome public statements from our Government about securing his release, and despite having been officially cleared for transfer out of Guantanamo in June 2007, Shaker is still not free.

“The US has repeatedly turned its back on international law. The UK has allowed them to get away with it and has allowed a British citizen – a man who’s never been charged with any crime – to face indefinite incarceration in a US torture camp.

“Critically, the UK has been complicit in the abuses he has suffered and there are far too many unanswered questions about the UK’s role. By rights Shaker is a free man, yet he remains illegally detained. It’s time to bring him home.”