THE BLOG

We Stand with Shaker Campaign: Free the last British Citizen held at Guantanamo

17/12/2014 11:25 GMT | Updated 16/02/2015 10:59 GMT

Shaker Aamer, a Saudi Arabian citizen and the last British resident to be held without charge at Guantanamo bay has still not been given the freedom he deserves after more than 13 years of imprisonment.

Shaker was captured in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, on 24 November 2001 and was brought to Guantánamo where he has been held since 14 February 2002. The Bush administration acknowledged that it had no evidence to charge Shaker and has not given any explanation as to why Shaker is still detained.

The 'We Stand for Shaker' campaign has garnered unprecedented support to fight for Shaker's right to freedom. High profile celebrities, journalists, activists and MPs have signed an open letter to David Cameron to urge him to call on Obama to release Shaker immediately and bring him back home. Many people supporting the campaign have taken photos of themselves stating 'I stand with Shaker' with the hope that the message will resonate loud and clear that Shaker needs to be freed.

One has to question why the US is taking so long to release Shaker despite the fact that he has been approved for release under President Bush in 2007 and under President Obama in 2009. The recent CIA Torture reports has shed some light on the unjustifiable practices that had taken place post the 9/11 interrogations. Shaker is no stranger to torture having being force- fed, beaten and kept in solitary confinement in Guantanamo. It is clearly apparent that the US fears repercussions from worldwide governments and media if Shaker were to be allowed to uncover and expose his plight during his time at Guantanamo.

I have written against the imprisonment of Shaker Aamer countless times and I am saddened that 2 years on he is still in the same position. It is extremely heart breaking to see the affect that his imprisonment has had on his wife and children. Shaker's children have made countless pleas, 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, wrote. "I find it very difficult without my dad. I can feel how hard it is for my mum."

Shaker Aamer's daughter, Johina, 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."

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Mr Obama please answer me these questions, how would you feel if you were accused of a crime you didn't commit, force-fed and beaten? How would you feel if you were taken away from your family and had never laid eyes on your unborn child? How would you feel if you were declared innocent but deprived of your right to freedom without a valid explanation? Despite knowing that Shaker is innocent why have you still not sent Shaker home to Britain to be reunited with his wife and children?

Obama may not have answers to these questions but Shaker does because he has the first hand experience of going through this devastating ordeal. Shaker deserves to be sent home to the UK to be reunited with his family immediately. I stand with Shaker and call on Mr David Cameron to urge Obama to free Shaker Aamer immediately and give him the freedom he deserves.