Please sign the e-petition to the British government calling for the return of Shaker Aamer from Guantánamo.
On Wednesday February 13, between 11am and 1.30pm, I’ll be joining representatives of the Save Shaker Campaign and the London Guantánamo Campaign in Parliament Square, opposite the Houses of Parliament, to call for the release of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison, on the 11th anniversary of the day that, in 2002, he was flown to Guantánamo from Afghanistan, arriving on February 14, the day that his youngest son was born.
Shaker, who is now 44 years old, and has spent a quarter of his life in Guantánamo, is “suffering from a list of ailments, including arthritis and serious asthma problems,” as the legal action charity Reprieve explained last month, prompting “grave fears for his health.” One of his lawyers, Clive Stafford Smith, the director of the legal action charity, recently returned from visiting Shaker in Guantánamo. According to unclassified notes of their meeting, Shaker told him, “The ERF team grab me harshly, bend my arms and my head and slam me to the floor. They shackle me and put me in the chair.”
Clive Stafford Smith said: “The US gulag Guantánamo Bay is a disgrace where men are abused, and where any notion of human rights or the rule of law is flagrantly disregarded. In the US films which purport to justify torture [Zero Dark Thirty] are being nominated for awards, those who did the torturing enjoying immunity and the courageous people who expose wrongdoing are prosecuted for violating secrecy. Those who continue to be subjected to abuse and indefinite detention are all but forgotten.” Read the rest of this entry »
Recently, I was delighted to be invited to speak at a screening of “You Don’t Like the Truth: 4 Days Inside Guantánamo,” the excellent documentary film, directed by Luc Côté and Patricio Henriquez, about the Canadian citizen and former child prisoner Omar Khadr, based on seven hours of footage, from the summer of 2003, when Omar was just 16 years old, and Canadian agents came to Guantánamo to interrogate him, painfully dashing his hopes that they would secure his return home. I was pleased to speak at the UK premiere of the film, in London in June 2011, and I also discussed it on Press TV (see here and here, and see below for a video of the whole of the program).
The screening takes place on Thursday evening in the auditorium at Amnesty International’s Human Rights Action Centre, 17-25 New Inn Yard, London EC2 3EA. The event starts at 7pm, and has been arranged by Amnesty International’s Children’s Human Rights Network — which is very appropriate given Omar’s age when he was captured, and the manner in which both the US and Canadian governments have cynically discarded his right to be rehabilitated rather than punished under the terms of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict, to which both the US and Canada are signatories.
Investigative journalist, author, filmmaker, photographer and Guantanamo expert
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