Recently, British courts have rivalled their counterparts across the pond in competing for the most senseless judgment. The latest example came just yesterday, when three British judges said they could not rule on whether British officials were complicit in murdering Pakistani civilians in US drone strikes because that might embarrass our friends in America.
They know what they are doing to me is wrong and that's why they are scared. It is not me they are worried about, but they have some metaphorical sense that their mother or father is going to see what they are up to, and wonder what has become of them. Instead of being a brave soldier, they have been reduced to the rank of 'Scrotum Searcher Third Class', and they are told to beat up a defenceless and shackled prisoner with the help of five of their tough buddies.
I sent Shaker Aamer the sermon Reverend Nicholas Mercer delivered in October which denounces the UK's involvement in the tortuous and horrifying tactics used in the 'war on terror' and its continued denial of justice to those still subjected to those same practices. Shaker, clearly touched, wrote back almost immediately.
Shaker Aamer, the last British resident to be held by the United States in the Guantanamo Bay detention camps, for over 11 years, is still yet to be released by the US government. One has to question why the US is taking so long to release Aamer despite the fact that he has been cleared for release over six years ago?
My name is Shaker. I am also known as Sawad Al-Madany because I was born in the Holy City of Medina. Please can you remember these names for me, because I hardly can anymore. Here, they call me 239. In fact, I call myself 239. It feels so strange to witness my name slipping away from me. I can't do anything about it. I wonder how long it is going to take for all of us here in Guantánamo to slip away from the world's memory?
Today is the first day of my hungerstrike. While we have agreed that it can be done in simple solidarity with all the detainees - currently more than 100 are on strike, and at least 48 are being force fed - the alternative is to 'Adopt a Hunger Strike', where you choose to do it in sympathy with a particular prisoner. I was in Guantánamo visiting my clients last week, and I promised Shaker Aamer that I would do the next few days (as long as I can last) adopting his strike.
I explained to them that I actually understand and agree that many of the people on whose behalf Amnesty work are probably guilty. Guilty of insulting the president, guilty of being gay, guilty of standing up for women's rights. I explained that it's often repressive laws that puts many of the people on whose behalf Amnesty work behind bars.
Nabil was just 22 years old when he was sold for a bounty to US forces and taken to Guantanamo Bay. He has been held there ever since without charge or trial. The US has since admitted that he was mistakenly arrested. In 2007 Nabil was cleared for release. Then, in 2009, Barack Obama became President and promised to close Guantanamo Bay. Nabil - like all the detainees - thought that maybe, finally his time had come to be released from his indefinite detention. Instead, the President did nothing.