Kris Maharaj has been in prison for 27 years. Setting his innocence aside for a moment, he is no better off now than when he joined Thomas Knight on Florida's death row. He was 75 years old in January. Recently, the Florida Parole Commission sent him a letter scheduling his "initial parole interview": it will be held, they say, in April 2042. By then, Kris will be 103 years old. Perhaps more accurately, he will be dead.
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.
I know I will leave here one day, perhaps soon. I have long been cleared, for six years now. But what of the other men here? Again, I worry about the 80 people who have not been cleared more than I do about myself and the other 83 who have. Some might get a trial of sorts, but scores never will. They say it's because they can't use the evidence against them in court. Even if we believe this excuse, we might well ask why the evidence is inadmissible - is it because they tortured the men? If so, then a thousand years of experience tells us that the statements are certainly unreliable, and probably false.
Some of you may remember how David Cameron's victory lap in a still-jubilant Tripoli was marred by the release of an embarrassing cache of faxes. The faxes revealed the true price of Blair's infamous 'deal in the desert' with Gaddafi in 2004: a joint US-UK-Libyan operation to kidnap my client and his pregnant wife.
"A symbol around the world for an America that flouts the rule of law." These are President Obama's recent words on Guantanamo Bay, the military prison he rules as commander-in-chief. But as Gitmo's infamous hunger strike enters its sixth month, it is increasingly plain that we have not one, but two administrations on Guantánamo Bay. The first - the administration of President Obama's speeches - regrets the prison... The second administration offers a retort.
So for me, the strike is over: not for any particularly good reason, just because it has gone on a week, and it is time to pass the baton over to Frankie Boyle. I was not sure when I began how long I would go for, since I had never foregone food for 48 hours before. I am satisfied with a week - it is longer than I expected to last, though less time than I could have.
It's hardly the same, but three days ago, my wife announced that ketosis had begun with me. Two evenings ago, she took away my car keys. Last night, I was short of breath when it came to blowing up balloons (so too, it seemed, was my mother, but then she is 86). Finally, the force feeders came for me.
The combination of lack of sleep with lack of food does seem to be the worst part of going on hunger strike... The notion of being coerced into feeding does make me think of the procedures described by Shaker Aamer in my call with him two days ago. Things in Guantánamo have gone from worse to terrible.
The more I do this, the more I set my own petty experience is contrast to Guantánamo. I supposed I had a good sense all along about the suffering that Shaker and the other 165 prisoners were going through, because I have been there so many times (28 to date) and witnessed what is happening first hand. But it is a message we need to get to the world, and every word that people read is a small step in the right direction.
Day three of my hunger strike did not start off well. I was awake by 4am, and gave up trying to rest half an hour later, my mind swirling with work to be done. At least I was productive in the early hours. Meanwhile, though, I have been pondering anew, rather tiredly, how trivial my concerns truly are...
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.
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.
The EU needs to be an ethical, moral, and legal counterbalance to the United States regarding the use of armed drones, and to play a leading role in developing the international standards which are emerging to govern their use. When the International Committee of the Red Cross has finally gone on record to state that certain aspects of the drone wars are "problematic," it is obvious that the time is ripe for action.