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Why Has the US Government Still Not Released Shaker Aamer?

02/12/2013 12:05 GMT | Updated 29/01/2014 10:59 GMT

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?

Earlier this month, Aamer made his first heart wrenching appearance on television, broadcast from his cell. On CBS's 60 Minutes, he said: "Tell the world the truth ... Please, we are tired. Either you leave us to die in peace - or either tell the world the truth. Open up the place. Let the world come and visit. Let the world hear what's happening."

According to Aamer's statement it is clearly evident that injustices are taking place in Guantanamo Bay. This brings me to the fact that perhaps the US government does not want to expose the full extent of the mental and physical torture inflicted on the detainees. Could it be that the US fear being reprimanded once the truth comes out and held accountable for by the media, human rights organisations and other world leaders?

The Bush administration acknowledged that it had no evidence to charge Aamer with any wrongdoing and has not given an explanation as to why Aamer is still detained. However, Aamer is yet to even receive his basic right to a trial and his lawyer says he is totally innocent. The alleged accusations of abuse and injustice that goes on in Guantanamo is heartbreaking and it is a matter that the US government needs to acknowledge.

The violation of human rights is evident in the case of Aamer who has not been able to see his family for 11 years and has undergone extreme mental and physical torture in his time at Guantanamo bay.

Amnesty International has called for Aamer to be freed and brought home. When Obama became president he vowed to close Guantanamo but actions speak louder than words; Guantanamo remains open without the release of innocent prisoners such as Aamer.

More heart wrenching still, are the countless pleas from Aamer's children, which have gone unheard by the US government. His children wrote letters to President Obama in the hope that their voices would be heard after his re-election.

"My dad is still in prison, and even though he has been cleared for release he's been tortured," Michael, 13, wrote. "I find it very difficult without my dad. I can feel how hard it is for my mum."

Mr. Aamer's daughter, Johina, 15, added: "Why don't you imagine being locked up for 11 years of your life and possibly more years to come. Try imagining being treated like a circus animal in a cage and being taken away from your home and everyone you love."

One has to question the plight of his children, of his family and the people close to him. We live in a world where we can see injustices with our eyes but we are often powerless to do anything about it because the real power lies with the government, the people who we rely on to make a positive change.

At the recent G8 summit, UK Prime Minister David Cameron had called for Aamer to be brought back home to the UK and many international human rights organisations are campaigning for his immediate release.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

"David Cameron's recent remarks about Shaker's case are encouraging but we need to see the UK and the USA urgently agreeing to his release and return to the UK.

"We need follow-through after the Prime Minister's letter and sustained diplomatic activity.

"Time is of the essence - I can't stress this enough. There's an understandable concern that detainees at Guantánamo - Shaker included - could die at the camp before they are ever released.

As far as I'm concerned, Aamer needs to be released immediately there is no justification for Aamer being detained in Guantanamo. The British government need to make it a matter of urgency that Aamer should be released as soon as possible. There needs to be more awareness of this issue in order to put pressure on the US government and give Aamer the freedom and the opportunity to be reunited with his family which the US have deprived him of for over 11 years.