Great news finally, as Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in Guantánamo, has just arrived back in the UK, at Biggin Hill airport. Below is a version of a press release I wrote and sent out this morning on behalf of the We Stand With Shaker campaign.
Responding to the news of Shaker Aamer’s arrival back in the UK from Guantánamo, Andy Worthington, the co-director of the We Stand With Shaker campaign, said, “We are delighted to hear about Shaker Aamer’s return to the UK, bringing to an end his long and unacceptable ordeal in US custody for nearly 14 years. Eight years ago, under George W. Bush, Shaker was first told that the US no longer wanted to hold him, and in 2009 the Obama administration also approved him for release. To be held for so long, after being approved for release, is unforgivable.”
Andy added, “We hope that on his return he is not detained by the UK authorities, and will immediately be allowed to be reunited with his family, and to begin to receive the medical and psychological care that he urgently needs to begin to put his life back together again. We thank all the campaigners who have worked tirelessly for Shaker’s release, the MPs from across the political spectrum who have devoted their energies to addressing this terrible injustice, his lawyers, the media who have understood the importance of his case and the principles at stake, and, of course, the concerned citizens around the world who have recognised his plight and acted on it.”
Andy also said, “We also recall the 112 other men still held at Guantánamo, and note that 52 of them have also, like Shaker, been approved for release by high-level US government review processes. We call for them also to be released as soon as possible.”
We Stand With Shaker was set up by independent journalist Andy Worthington and activist Joanne MacInnes last November, to call for Shaker Aamer’s release from Guantánamo. They publicised Shaker’s plight by having celebrities and MPs stand with a giant inflatable figure of him. The campaign struck a chord with the media and the general public alike, and contributed to the pressure to secure Shaker’s return to the UK.
Two weeks ago, Andy and Joanne also set up Fast For Shaker, successfully encouraging celebrities, MPs and concerned citizens around the world to fast in solidarity with Shaker.
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,’ is available for download or on CD via Bandcamp — also see here). 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.
See the following for articles about the 142 prisoners released from Guantánamo from June 2007 to January 2009 (out of the 532 released by President Bush), and the 123 prisoners released from February 2009 to September 2015 (by President Obama), whose stories are covered in more detail than is available anywhere else –- either in print or on the internet –- although many of them, of course, are also covered in The Guantánamo Files, and for the stories of the other 390 prisoners released by President Bush, see my archive of articles based on the classified military files released by WikiLeaks in 2011: June 2007 –- 2 Tunisians, 4 Yemenis (here, here and here); July 2007 –- 16 Saudis; August 2007 –- 1 Bahraini, 5 Afghans; September 2007 –- 16 Saudis; 1 Mauritanian; 1 Libyan, 1 Yemeni, 6 Afghans; November 2007 –- 3 Jordanians, 8 Afghans; 14 Saudis; December 2007 –- 2 Sudanese; 13 Afghans (here and here); 3 British residents; 10 Saudis; May 2008 –- 3 Sudanese, 1 Moroccan, 5 Afghans (here, here and here); July 2008 –- 2 Algerians; 1 Qatari, 1 United Arab Emirati, 1 Afghan; August 2008 –- 2 Algerians; September 2008 –- 1 Pakistani, 2 Afghans (here and here); 1 Sudanese, 1 Algerian; November 2008 –- 1 Kazakh, 1 Somali, 1 Tajik; 2 Algerians; 1 Yemeni (Salim Hamdan), repatriated to serve out the last month of his sentence; December 2008 –- 3 Bosnian Algerians; January 2009 –- 1 Afghan, 1 Algerian, 4 Iraqis; February 2009 — 1 British resident (Binyam Mohamed); May 2009 —1 Bosnian Algerian (Lakhdar Boumediene); June 2009 — 1 Chadian (Mohammed El-Gharani); 4 Uighurs to Bermuda; 1 Iraqi; 3 Saudis (here and here); August 2009 — 1 Afghan (Mohamed Jawad); 2 Syrians to Portugal; September 2009 — 1 Yemeni; 2 Uzbeks to Ireland (here and here); October 2009 — 1 Kuwaiti, 1 prisoner of undisclosed nationality to Belgium; 6 Uighurs to Palau; November 2009 — 1 Bosnian Algerian to France, 1 unidentified Palestinian to Hungary, 2 Tunisians to Italian custody; December 2009 — 1 Kuwaiti (Fouad al-Rabiah); 2 Somalis; 4 Afghans; 6 Yemenis; January 2010 — 2 Algerians, 1 Uzbek to Switzerland; 1 Egyptian, 1 Azerbaijani and 1 Tunisian to Slovakia; February 2010 — 1 Egyptian, 1 Libyan, 1 Tunisian to Albania; 1 Palestinian to Spain; March 2010 — 1 Libyan, 2 unidentified prisoners to Georgia, 2 Uighurs to Switzerland; May 2010 — 1 Syrian to Bulgaria, 1 Yemeni to Spain; July 2010 — 1 Yemeni (Mohammed Hassan Odaini); 1 Algerian; 1 Syrian to Cape Verde, 1 Uzbek to Latvia, 1 unidentified Afghan to Spain; September 2010 — 1 Palestinian, 1 Syrian to Germany; January 2011 — 1 Algerian; April 2012 — 2 Uighurs to El Salvador; July 2012 — 1 Sudanese; September 2012 — 1 Canadian (Omar Khadr) to ongoing imprisonment in Canada; August 2013 — 2 Algerians; December 2013 — 2 Algerians; 2 Saudis; 2 Sudanese; 3 Uighurs to Slovakia; March 2014 — 1 Algerian (Ahmed Belbacha); May 2014 — 5 Afghans to Qatar (in a prisoner swap for US PoW Bowe Bergdahl); November 2014 — 1 Kuwaiti (Fawzi al-Odah); 3 Yemenis to Georgia, 1 Yemeni and 1 Tunisian to Slovakia, and 1 Saudi; December 2014 — 4 Syrians, a Palestinian and a Tunisian to Uruguay; 4 Afghans; 2 Tunisians and 3 Yemenis to Kazakhstan; January 2015 — 4 Yemenis to Oman, 1 Yemeni to Estonia; June 2015 — 6 Yemenis to Oman; September 2015 — 1 Moroccan and 1 Saudi.
Neil McKenna wrote:
Well done Andy.
Diana Murtaugh Coleman wrote:
Oh, happy day. So grateful for your work on this, Andy, day in and day out for many years. Shaker has a long road to recovery, but it begins today.
What lovely messages, Sue, Jez, Stuart, Alex, Dejanka, Sue, Nilofar, Neil and Diana. It has been a crazy day on the media front, but emotionally, and in terms of overcoming a huge injustice, a great day! I will try and find some quiet time soon, Alex, though I suspect Joanne needs it more than me. I always take breaks from it all – cycling around London, without a mobile phone, for some time every day. It preserves my sanity – and also helps me come up with songs!
Barbara Cummings wrote:
This is happening in large part b/c of the tireless and passionate work of Andy Worthington. xoxo
Ann Alexander wrote:
I agree Barbara. Andy has been relentless and I’m full of admiration for him.
Tony Simpson wrote:
We stand with Shaker and Andy Worthington!
Thanks, Barbara – and Ann and Tony – for the lovely supportive words!
When Dejanka Bryant shared my article, Pam Arnold wrote:
Fantastic news..thank you Andy..and everybody
Anna Giddings wrote:
Great news at last. Well done Andy and all those involved
Shahela Begum wrote:
Thanks to Andy Worthington and others for their endless efforts in trying to secure the release of Shaker Aamer, he is finally released after 14 years of confinement without charge at Guantanamo.
Kathleen Kelly wrote:
NOT COVERED BY THE US MEDIA: Shaker was held in Guantanamo for 14 years without charges or trial. Not long ago, Habeas Corpus, a concept older than the US constitution, would have prevented this outrage. Thanks to the “Patriot” Act, our country is no longer a beacon of human rights. I feel deeply indebted to Andy Worthington, a British Journalist who has written extensively on Guantanamo and who campaigned tirelessly for for Shaker’s release.
Thank you, Kathleen, for your kind and supportive words – and your defence of habeas corpus!
Shahela Begum wrote:
Andy you and everyone who works hard to fight for injustice are my heroes.
Thank you, Shahela. Much appreciated!
Kathleen Kelly wrote:
Blessings on you! Thank you for your tireless work and for keeping this story in the forefront.
Thank you, Kathleen. Wonderful to hear from you.
Nayan Bose wrote:
Congratulations Andy for your tireless pursuit 🙂
You deserve a tiny vacation now.
Thanks, Nayan, for the kind words – and yes, I’ll try and make sure I have a few days off! But, you know, Guantanamo’s still open …
Ruth Gilburt wrote:
Just touched down in UK ourselves around the same time – wonderful news, Andy! Great to catch you briefly to share the relief and cheers 🙂 xx
Thanks, Ruth. Yes, great to talk earlier.
Benji Ashby wrote:
EXCELLENT NEWS!!!!! Welcome home Shaker. I would like to give a special mention to Andy Worthington and all of those who worked tirelessly on behalf of Shaker.
Thanks, Benji. Yes, it’s so great when a campaign against a huge injustice works out!
Andrew Brel wrote:
A happy day for everyone involved and especially Andy Worthington. Hope his health recovers after 13 years of torture without charge.
Amatulhaqq Bintibnali wrote:
Voilà les déclarations de certains parmi ceux qui ont œuvré sans relâche.
Qu’Allah les récompense abondamment.
Nos plus grands respects à Andy Worthington, Moazzam Begg, Save Shaker, We Stand With Shaker, et tous les militants…
D’ailleurs, grande pensée à tous ceux qui se sont tenus sans relâche dans les manifestations pour notre frère, dont l’honorable Dame Patricia Sheerin-Richman.
Merci beaucoup, Amatulhaqq!
Corrie-Anne Felicity Burton wrote:
Just wanted to say a huge well done to you and the whole teams of people who made Shaker’s release a reality. Just heard his statement on the radio. This is an amazing day!
Thanks, Corrie-Anne. Great to hear from you!
Anita Gwynn wrote:
He’s out. With the tireless support and help of Andy Worthington. Hope he is ok.
Thanks, Anita. Great news! Crazy day for media overload, but a wonderful day for justice!
Tim Holmes wrote:
A special well done to Andy Worthington and all those working for Aamer’s release for so long. 13 years – no charges, no trial, nothing. Tortured and went on hunger strike; force-fed in captivity (another form of torture); placed in solitary confinement (ditto); denied medical treatment; deprived of the chance to watch his young children grow up. Unspeakable, unimaginable what this man went through. But at least those 13 years are now over.
Mathew Rogue Element Sandoval wrote:
This is incredible news!!! Shaker Aamer, who’d been the last remaining British detainee at Gitmo, has been released! After 13 years of being held without charges or trial this man is now finally free to return to his family. Aamer was instrumental in organizing various forms of resistance at the camp, including numerous long-term hunger strikes. Praise to Aamer’s family and the numerous activists who’ve been unrelenting in demanding his release. Special thanks to journalists Andy Worthington and Jason Leopold for being equally unrelenting in covering this injustice.
Sharon Benbow wrote:
So happy for him and his family.
Kris Connolly wrote:
William Baker wrote:
Welcome home Shaker!
MissRazia Anwar wrote:
Rena Brewin wrote:
At last. Nobody, but nobody should be incarcerated without a fair trial.
Jane Probett wrote:
Just brilliant news!
Mary Francis Galloway wrote:
Awesome. Now on to Tariq
Jennie Tindall wrote:
Fantastic. Any photos? I’m so happy for him and his family. Thanks for all your dedicated hard work over the years.
Denise Allgood wrote:
Thank you for all your efforts to free him.
Helen Roden wrote:
Fantastic news! Please keep us informed when you can. Would love to know he has seen a doctor and his family, and not been detained for any reason.
Thanks for the comments, Sharon, Kris, William, MissRazia, Rena, Jane, Mary, Jennie, Denise and Helen. Great to hear from you all.
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.
Email Andy Worthington
Please support Andy Worthington, independent journalist: