The original e-petition to the British government calling for the return of Shaker Aamer to the UK from Guantánamo, which was launched on February 14, has now been replaced with a new e-petition, because of Shaker’s family’s belief that it was not possible to secure 100,000 signatures by the time the three-month deadline would have expired on May 14.
Also please note that the original redirect — www.freeshaker.com — which was used in much of the publicity, redirects to the new petition, and the organisers encourage its use as a memorable short URL.
The new e-petition is identical in its wording, but has a deadline of a year. Still entitled, “Return Shaker Aamer to the UK,” it states, as the previous petition did:
Shaker Aamer is a British resident with a British wife and children who has been imprisoned without trial by the US in Bagram Airforce Base and Guantánamo Bay for over ten years. The Foreign Secretary and the Foreign Office must undertake urgent new initiatives to achieve the immediate transfer of Shaker Aamer to the UK from continuing indefinite detention in Guantánamo Bay.
Campaigners now have until April 20, 2013 to secure 100,000 signatures and make Shaker’s ongoing, ten-year detention without charge or trial (despite him being cleared for release five years ago) eligible for a Parliamentary debate.
The organisers would like to apologise for any inconvenience, and while the decision to relaunch the petition is somewhat inconvenient for those who have been working hard collecting signatures for the last two months, the truth is that, despite everyone’s best efforts, we would not have managed to secure 100,000 signatures by the deadline.
When the first e-petition closed, it had 8,871 signatures — although many more were on paper petitions, collected by volunteers, and were waiting to be input. I’m glad to report, however, that the new e-petition already has over 1,400 signatures, which is 15 percent of the original number of signatures, in just four days.
So please, if you signed the first version, and have not signed this updated version, please do so, and then let all your friends and family members know. It will only take a few minutes of your time.
Also feel free to use the image above on your website, or as your profile photo on Facebook, or wherever else you can find a good use for it. It was designed by Josh King-Farlow, who also designed the website for the “Close Guantánamo” campaign, one of the supporters of the campaign to free Shaker Aamer, along with Reprieve, Cageprisoners, the London Guantánamo Campaign and the Save Shaker Aamer Campaign.
If you would like to collect signatures for the petition, please print off copies of the paper petition available here (and other resources are here). These can then be sent to the Save Shaker Aamer Campaign for inputting (email for address or phone 07756 493877). Please be advised that, when collecting signatures, you should let signatories know that they will be required to respond when they receive an email asking them to validate their signatures.
For further information, including requesting flyers (which are currently out of print), or to offer assistance with inputting signatures from paper copies (for which volunteers are needed), please email email@example.com, and if you would like to make a donation to print new flyers as a follow-up to the 100,000 printed and used in the last two months, or to cover postage and packing for the flyers already sent out, please donate to: the Save Shaker Aamer Campaign, the Co-operative Bank, sort code 08-92-99, account number 65467002, swift CPBKGB22. Or send your donation to: SSAC Treasurer, 15 Reynolds Close, SW19 2QJ.
Note: If you’re not from the UK and are feeling left out (because only British citizens and residents can sign the e-petition), then please sign and publicize the international petition on the influential Care 2 Petition Site.
Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed (and I can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Digg and YouTube). Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in June 2011, “The Complete Guantánamo Files,” a 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011, and details about the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, and available on DVD here — or here for the US). Also see my definitive Guantánamo habeas list and the chronological list of all my articles, and please also consider joining the new “Close Guantánamo campaign,” and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.
On Facebook, I wrote:
Please sign here (UK citizens and residents only): http://www.freeshaker.com
And the international petition via the Care 2 Petition Site is here (although the site appears to be down right now): http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/shaker-aamerguantanamo-bay/
Ruth Gilburt wrote:
passing it on, Andy x
Maryam Hassan wrote:
Thanks for posting, Andy. Can you correct the pdf template to the link here:
There are other campaign updated resources here:
Thanks, Ruth and Maryam, and everyone who’s shared this. I’ll make those changes, Maryam.
When I first posted the notification about the revised e-petition on Facebook on April 21, Susan Hall wrote:
This is only for U.K. citizens and I’m in the U.S. Is there another Profile that will direct the people of the U.S. to sign?
Maryam Hassan wrote:
People from the US and outside the UK can sign http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/shaker-aamerguantanamo-bay/
Ann Alexander wrote:
signed and shared.
The Care 2 Petition Site is now up and running again. The petition there currently has 687 signatures, while the new e-petition already has 1,560 – that’s 160 signatures since I posted my article eight hours ago. Please keep signing and sharing!
Andy it is tedious to sign again and again, was it all useless? And do u really believe that this signing of petition will get this hapless man released? And if so y werent these petitions created earlier? Y did it take so long? U made people sign for another man who was executed despite the petitions.
It’s up to you to decide whether petitioning is worth it or not, Samantha. No one’s being forced to do anything. I do believe that petitioning can make a difference, but it’s not the only route. There are also protests, lobbying, supporting groups active in the relevant fields. As for the man who was executed, I guess you’re talking about Troy Davis, and while it’s true that a million people couldn’t stop him being executed, it might, in the long run, have made a difference to the campaign to stop the death penalty.
Jennah Freely wrote:
Hi Andy, I want to sign it – but do we really have to give our address? What happens to the info? Does it become public?
Thanks, Jennah. It’s very good to hear from you. I wouldn’t worry about the information. It certainly won’t ever be made public, as it’s strictly confidential – although I wouldn’t be able to guarantee that someone in the government won’t put us on some sort of mailing list, even if they’re not supposed to!
1954 signatures! That’s 400 in the last day! Please keep signing and promoting the e-petition: http://www.freeshaker.com
And the Care 2 petition if you’re not in the UK: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/shaker-aamerguantanamo-bay/
2,426 signatures now! That’s excellent progress! Please keep signing and circulating it!
Writer, campaigner, investigative journalist and commentator. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo, co-director, We Stand With Shaker. Also, singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers) and photographer.
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