[Ppnews] 10 years in Guantánamo Bay, Shaker Aamer held under the harshest conditions
Political Prisoner News
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Feb 13 10:53:14 EST 2012
Mon 13 February 2012
Ten years after his arrival in Guantánamo Bay,
Aamer remains held under the harshest condition
Tomorrow marks ten years since Londoner Shaker
Aamer was transferred to the US military prison
in Guantánamo Bay, where he has since been abused
and held in punishing isolation but never charged with any crime.
Shaker arrived in Guantánamo Bay on the same day
Valentines Day 2002 that his youngest child
was born, a child he has never met. He was
cleared for release by the Bush Administration in
2007, and it has been publicly reported that he
has also been cleared by the Obama
Administration. He wishes to rejoin his British
wife and four British children in the UK.
A new law opens an avenue for Shakers possible
release: it may now be done without a personal
certification from US Secretary of Defense Leon
Panetta. The question is whether the US will do
it no prisoner has been released now for a full year.
Reprieve's director Clive Stafford Smith, and
Legal Director Cori Crider, recently visited Shaker Aamer in Guantánamo Bay:
Shaker reports his most recent isolation being
for several months, starting on July 15, 2011. It
is not for doing anything wrong, merely asserting
the human rights of his fellow prisoners. There
is meant to be a 30 day maximum on isolation as a
punishment, he says. So its not called
isolation any more its called separation. He
is in a cell with no view to the outside, just a
one metre by 30 centimetres of opaque glass, and
no real toilet, just a hole in the ground.
Shaker reports that he has been reading (and
re-reading) 1984 by George Orwell. It has made a
big impact on him. You must read this book
because you need to understand what is happening
here in Guantánamo. Torture is for torture, the system is for the system.
In many ways, Shaker reports that the torture is
worse today than it was before. Please torture
me the old way, says Shaker. Here they destroy
people mentally and physically without leaving marks.
Shaker does not expect President Obama to do
anything better than his predecessor, President
Bush. Presidents are, he thinks, hemmed in by the
powers that surround them: The White House is a
straitjacket. You just wear it.
Immediately following his visit with Shaker,
to Foreign Secretary William Hague concerning the
disastrous physical ailments that Shaker suffers
these details have now been cleared through the
US censorship process and the letter is publicly available.
Reprieves legal director Cori Crider said:
Shaker is no longer the man he was ten years
ago: he has dropped to perhaps 150 pounds, losing
forty percent of his body weight; his face bears
the marks of suffering and of time passing; and
while he has an irrepressible spirit, the
authorities seem determined to grind him down to
nothing. The British Government must do more -
not only in pushing for his release, but in
getting his living conditions eased. While the US
military boasts about improvements in the
conditions at GTMO for many, it is no
exaggeration to say that the conditions of Shaker
Aamer's imprisonment have long been, and remain, the harshest at the base."
Reprieves director Clive Stafford Smith said:
It is inconceivable that our closest ally could
hold Shaker, the father of four little British
children, for ten years without charge, and for
five years after he has been cleared for release.
Surely the UK is not totally impotent when it
comes to protecting such basic human rights.
Notes to editors
1. For further information please go to
or contact Donald Campbell or Katherine O'Shea in
Reprieves press office on +44 (0)20 7427 1082
2. Read Clive Stafford Smith's
letter to Foreign Secretary William Hague on Shaker Aamer.
a legal action charity, uses the law to enforce
the human rights of prisoners, from death row to
Guantánamo Bay. Reprieve investigates, litigates
and educates, working on the frontline, to
provide legal support to prisoners unable to pay
for it themselves. Reprieve promotes the rule of
law around the world, securing each persons
right to a fair trial and saving lives. Clive
Stafford Smith is the founder of Reprieve and has
spent 25 years working on behalf of people facing the death penalty in the USA.
Reprieves current casework involves representing
in the US prison at Guantánamo Bay, assisting
facing the death penalty around the world, and
into the rendition and the secret detention of
ghost prisoners in the so-called war on
terror. Follow Reprieve on twitter:
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