Downing Street:recent action to mark 9 years of Shaker Aamer's illegal detention
Please sign our open letter from the British public to the American president, demanding Shaker Aamer’s release from Guantánamo Bay and return to the UK.
Shaker Aamer is the last British resident held at Guantánamo Bay and has been held illegally without charge or trial for over nine years. As a result of organising prisoner protests, and standing up for his rights and those of his fellow prisoners, Shaker Aamer was held in continual solitary confinement for several years. He has never faced any charges, and the American government has never provided any explanation as to why it continues to hold him. According to a report in Time magazine in 2010, he was a witness to the murder of three prisoners who allegedly “committed suicide” in 2006.
172 prisoners remain at Guantánamo. The American government has no intention of closing the facility soon. The least it can do is allow Shaker Aamer to return to his family in the UK. The London Guantánamo Campaign asks all members of the British public, either in a personal capacity or as a representative of an organisation, political party, faith/social/political group, professional, etc. to sign our open letter to the American President Barack Obama demanding that he return Shaker Aamer to the United Kingdom immediately. Shaker Aamer’s reunion with his family, including the son he has never met, is already nine years too late.
If you would like to add your name to our open letter, which we will send to the American president at the end of each month with the list of signatories until we receive a favourable response, please send an e-mail with your name and town at least, and those of anyone else who wish to sign, to firstname.lastname@example.org You can add the name of your organisation or group or any other information you wish to. The names of private individuals will be kept confidential.
Dear President Barack Obama,
We, the undersigned citizens and residents of the United Kingdom, write to you to urge you to release Shaker Aamer, a Saudi prisoner held at Guantánamo Bay for over nine years. Mr. Aamer is a legal resident of the United Kingdom and is married to a British woman with whom he has four children. We would like to see him returned immediately to his family in London.
Mr. Aamer has never been charged or tried and has been cleared for release. The British government does not deem him a threat and requested his return to this country in August 2007. This formal request was followed up recently by requests for his release made to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, and Foreign Secretary William Hague. A recently leaked cable from the US Embassy in London also shows that in 2009, British diplomats addressed a request for his release to your ambassador, stating that he would not be prosecuted upon return to the UK. This, and all other requests, have been ignored.
All British residents and nationals who returned to the UK in 2005-2009 have reintegrated back into their communities and into normal, peaceful lives. A member of your diplomatic mission to Luxembourg recently commended one of our former prisoners, Moazzam Begg, for his efforts to close Guantánamo Bay.
Like you, Mr. Aamer is a father. For the past nine years, for reasons unknown to him, his family, or us, he has been denied the opportunity to watch his children grow up, including his youngest son whom he has never met. Mr. Aamer’s family has suffered considerably in his absence, the reasons for which your administration is not prepared to disclose. Ironically, while you to continue to deny him the right to return to his family in London, it is in the very same area that he lived for years, and in which his family still live, that the new embassy of the United States will be located.
We, the British people, would like to see Mr. Aamer return to his family and his community immediately. We urge you to make whatever preparations are necessary to make that happen as soon as is possible. Nine years later, without due process or explanation, we believe this is the most reasonable demand we can make of you.
We look forward to your positive response and welcoming Shaker Aamer back to our country.
London Guantánamo Campaign
1 March 2011