Labour Frontrunner Jeremy Corbyn Joins Cross-Party Signatories on Early Day Motion Calling for Shaker Aamer’s Release from Guantánamo

10.9.15

The delegation of MPs from the Shaker Aamer Parliamentary Group meeting Sen. John McCain in May in Washington D.C. From L to R: Andy Slaughter, Andrew Mitchell, John McCain, David Davis and Jeremy Corbyn.Today, following a meeting of the Shaker Aamer Parliamentary Group yesterday, which I attended, as the co-director of We Stand With Shaker, it was decided that an Early Day Motion would be submitted by Andrew Mitchell MP (Con., Sutton Coldfield), calling for the Obama administration to release Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in Guantánamo, from the prison, and to return him to the UK, to rejoin his family in London.

Andrew is one of four MPs from the All-Party Parliamentary Group who visited Washington D.C. in May to try to secure Shaker’s release. When the EDM was submitted, it was also signed by the other three MPs from the delegation — Jeremy Corbyn (Lab., Islington North), the frontrunner in the Labour leadership campaign, David Davis (Con., Haltemprice and Howden), the co-chair of the Shaker Aamer Parliamentary Group, and Andy Slaughter (Lab., Hammersmith).

Showing the breadth of cross-party support demonstrated by the campaign to get Shaker released, Andrew also secured the support of Tim Farron (Liberal Democrat, Westmorland and Lonsdale), the new leader of the Liberal Democrats, who spoke at the Parliamentary debate for Shaker in March, and Alex Salmond (Scottish National Party, Gordon), the former leader of the SNP, and early signatories to the EDM were John McDonnell (Lab., Hayes and Harlington), the co-chair of the Parliamentary Group, who established the group last November, Dominic Grieve (Con., Beaconsfield), the former Attorney General, and Caroline Lucas (Green, Brighton Pavilion), who has been a supporter from the beginning.

The EDM (EDM 413) states:

That this House calls on the US administration to release Shaker Aamer from his imprisonment in Guantanamo Bay; notes that he has now been incarcerated for 13 years without charge; further notes that he has twice been cleared for release and transfer, under President Bush in 2007 and President Obama in 2009; supports the call made by the Prime Minister for his release and return to the UK; notes the unanimous resolution of the House of 17 March 2015 that Shaker Aamer be released; and asserts that the defeat of terrorism will only be achieved by upholding the principle of the rule of law — to the protection of which Mr Shaker Aamer is entitled.

Other signatories who have already come on board include Peter Bottomley (Con., Worthing West), Tania Mathias (Con., Twickenham), Mark Durkan (SDLP, Foyle) and Graham Allen (Lab., Nottingham North).

If you’re in the UK, please can you write to your MP and ask them to add their name to the EDM — and can you also ask them to join the Shaker Aamer Parliamentary Group, and to let Joanne MacInnes, the co-chair of We Stand With Shaker, know if they are willing to join.

We can see no reason why hundreds of MPs will not sign the EDM — after all, it has serious cross-party support, and it reflects the government’s support for the Parliamentary motion on March 17 this year. In addition, as the Guardian noted in its coverage of the EDM, “David Cameron has raised Aamer’s case with Obama twice this year — at their meeting in the White House in January and at the G7 summit in Bavaria in June.”

As the Guardian also noted, the EDM “says that terrorism will only be defeated by upholding the rule of law, whose protection should apply to Aamer,” adding, “The MPs hope the Commons motion … will highlight the case of Aamer, who was was seized by bounty hunters in Afghanistan and handed over to US forces in December 2001. Two months later, he was rendered to the US military prison on Cuba. US authorities have made it clear that they have no intention of charging him.” It was also noted, “Aamer has accused UK security and intelligence officials of falsely claiming that he was a member of an al-Qaida network in London.”

The Guardian also stated, “Aamer, who was born in Saudi Arabia and has four children with his British wife, has twice been approved for release from Guantánamo. The first time was in 2007 under George W Bush, followed in 2010 by Barack Obama’s Guantánamo Review Task Force.”

Thanks for your interest in Shaker’s case. Please share this widely — and get everyone you know in the UK to write to their MPs — if you want to see this long and unacceptable injustice brought to an end.

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer, film-maker and singer-songwriter (the lead singer and main songwriter for the London-based band The Four Fathers, whose debut album, ‘Love and War,’ was released in July 2015). He is the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign, the co-director of We Stand With Shaker, calling for the immediate release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison, and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by the University of Chicago Press in the US, and available from Amazon, including a Kindle edition — 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. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here — or here for the US).

To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to Andy’s RSS feed — and he can also be found on Facebook (and here), Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Also see the six-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, and The Complete Guantánamo Files, an ongoing, 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011. Also see the definitive Guantánamo habeas list, the full military commissions list, and the chronological list of all Andy’s articles.

Please also consider joining the Close Guantánamo campaign, and, if you appreciate Andy’s work, feel free to make a donation.

21 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Free Shaker Aamer from ‪Guantanamo‬! Here’s my latest article promoting the Early Day Motion (EDM) launched today in the UK Parliament, asking for the US to release Shaker and send him back to his family in the UK. Andrew Mitchell MP submitted it, Jeremy Corbyn, David Davis, Andy Slaughter, Alex Salmond and Lib Dem leader Tim Farron also signed it on its launch, and other signatories are John McDonnell, Caroline Lucas and Dominic Grieve. PLEASE ASK YOUR MP TO SIGN: https://www.writetothem.com/

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    David Nicholl done…Dear Sajid

    EDM (EDM 413)

    I would urge you to either:

    1) Sign this EDM

    or

    2) If unable to sign by merit of being a government minister urge every
    Conservative backbench MP as everyone from David Cameron to every
    political party (apart from UKIP) has supported the return of Shaker
    Aamer.

    The EDM (EDM 413) states:

    That this House calls on the US administration to release Shaker Aamer
    from his imprisonment in Guantanamo Bay; notes that he has now been
    incarcerated for 13 years without charge; further notes that he has
    twice been cleared for release and transfer, under President Bush in
    2007 and President Obama in 2009; supports the call made by the Prime
    Minister for his release and return to the UK; notes the unanimous
    resolution of the House of 17 March 2015 that Shaker Aamer be released;
    and asserts that the defeat of terrorism will only be achieved by
    upholding the principle of the rule of law — to the protection of which
    Mr Shaker Aamer is entitled.

    As you know I have know been campaigning on his case for over 10 years,
    it is remarkable that the WhiteHouse has STILL not got the message.

    Yours sincerely,

    Dr David Nicholl

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Great, David!

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Chris Jelley wrote:

    Done. To Roberta Blackman-Woods, Labour, Durham.

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Chris.

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Julia Igaz wrote:

    Arundel and South Downs MP Herbert (Con) letter sent, will forward copy of response when I get one

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Julia. Good to hear from you.

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    David Nicholl wrote:

    There only so many times in ones life that one should run around the White House in an orange jump suit…once should have been enough for them to realise that I’m sane, they’re the ones who are nuts! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lqk6ExRVR4

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes indeed, David!

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    And there are only so many times I can stand outside the White House on the anniversary of the opening of Guantanamo, telling Obama to keep him promise – aren’t there? This year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=QydtU5ck5RQ

  11. Andy Worthington says...

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    Six MPs signed up yesterday:

    Ian Lavery (Labour, Wansbeck)
    Dennis Skinner (Labour, Bolsover)
    Gareth Thomas (Labour, Harrow West – and Mayoral candidate)
    Neil Gray (SNP, Airdrie and Shotts)
    Mike Weir (SNP, Angus)
    Margaret Ritchie (SDLP, South Down)

    Please keep writing to your MPs! https://www.writetothem.com/

  13. Andy Worthington says...

    Good news! Another 8 MPs have signed the Early Day Motion (EDM) calling for the US to release Shaker Aamer from ‪‎Guantanamo‬, making 32 MPs to date. Please ask your MP to join them, if they haven’t signed already. We currently have 5 Tories, 12 Labour (including Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and Diane Abbott), 10 SNP, 2 Lib Dems, 1 Green and 2 SDLP. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2015-16/413 https://www.writetothem.com/

  14. Andy Worthington says...

    The 8 new MPs who’ve signed:
    Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh (SNP, Ochil and South Perthshire)
    Richard Arkless (SNP, Dumfries and Galloway)
    Roger Godsiff (Labour, Birmingham Hall Green)
    Chris Law (SNP, Dundee West)
    Rachael Maskell (Labour, York Central)
    Alan Meale (Labour, Mansfield)
    Paula Sherriff (Labour, Dewsbury)
    Mark Williams (Liberal Democrat, Ceredigion)
    Thanks to all of them!

  15. Andy Worthington says...

    And three more MPs signed yesterday, taking the total to 35 – 5 Tories, 14 Labour (including Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and Diane Abbott), 11 SNP, 2 Lib Dems, 1 Green and 2 SDLP.
    The three new MPs are:
    Paul Flynn (Labour, Newport West)
    Carol Monaghan (SNP, Glasgow North West)
    Marie Rimmer (Labour, St Helens South and Whiston)

  16. Andy Worthington says...

    And four more MPs taking the total to 39:
    Alan Brown (SNP, Kilmarnock and Loudoun)
    Maria Caulfield (Conservative, Lewes)
    Kirsten Oswald (SNP, East Renfrewshire)
    Philippa Whitford (SNP, Central Ayrshire)
    Thanks to all of them!
    Please ask your MP to sign EDM 413: https://www.writetothem.com/
    http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2015-16/413

  17. Andy Worthington says...

    Two more MPs added on 17 September, taking the total to 41 – 6 Tories, 16 Labour (including Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and Diane Abbott), 14 SNP, 2 Lib Dems, 1 Green and 2 SDLP:
    Mary Glindon (Labour, North Tyneside)
    Gordon Marsden (Labour, Blackpool South)

  18. Andy Worthington says...

    Neil McKenna wrote:

    Just mailed mine, Andy.

  19. Andy Worthington says...

    Support is building. Thanks, Neil, for contacting your MP.

  20. Andy Worthington says...

    Neil Goodwin wrote:

    Well done! x

  21. Andy Worthington says...

    We campaigners are doing what we can, Neil, but it’s thanks in particular to John McDonnell and Andrew Mitchell for getting the EDM launched – and Andrew for getting Tim Farron and Alex Salmond to sign, to give it broad cross-party support.

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. 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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