Video: Juliet Stevenson and David Morrissey Star in New Film About Shaker Aamer for Human Rights Day, Calling for His Release from Guantánamo


A screen shot of Juliet Stevenson from the short film the We Stand With Shaker campaign made for Human Rights Day, of Shaker Aamer's Declaration of No Human Rights, written in Guantanamo.Watch the video of Juliet Stevenson and David Morrissey reading from Shaker Aamer’s “Declaration of No Human Rights” below.

Yesterday, December 10, was Human Rights Day, marking the 66th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations (on December 10, 1948). Its 30 articles provided a benchmark for decent behaviour following the atrocities of the Second World War, and they have been enormously influential, leading, for example, to the UN Convention Against Torture, which was ratified in 1987.

However, after the dreadful terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the US swept aside laws and treaties dealing with the treatment of prisoners, embracing torture — as revealed on Tuesday in the executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the CIA torture program, which I wrote about here — and engaging in a widespread program of kidnapping (“extraordinary rendition”) and indefinite detention without charge or trial.

A bleakly iconic manifestation of the US governments post-9/11 flight from the law is Guantánamo, where 136 men still languish, hoping that the uproar over the CIA’s torture program and its network of”black sites” will not mean that they — who have also suffered, and continue to suffer the torture of open-ended arbitrary detention, and, in some cases, brutal force-feeding — will be overlooked.

Shaker Aamer is one of these men. The last British resident in Guantánamo, he has been approved for release twice — in 2007 and 2009 — and the British government has been requesting his return since 2007, and yet, inexplicably and unacceptably, he is still held.

Two weeks ago, with a colleague, Joanne MacInnes, I launched a campaign, We Stand With Shaker, to secure the return of Shaker Aamer to the UK as soon as possible. We launched the campaign in London on November 24, with high-profile support, including music legend Roger Waters (ex-Pink Floyd), and our celebrity supporters can be seen here standing with the giant inflatable figure of Shaker (the “elephant in the room” of US-UK relations) that is a key part of the campaign.

Yesterday we released a short film featuring actors Juliet Stevenson and David Morrissey — and with contributions from Bill Paterson, Gillian Slovo, Janet Ellis and Andy Worthington and Joanne MacInnes of We Stand With Shaker — reading from the “Declaration of No Human Rights” that Shaker Aamer wrote in Guantánamo, in response to the US betrayal of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The film is posted below, via YouTube, and we hope you will watch it and share it widely:

With our high-profile support, and the timing of our campaign, we seem to be in a position to exert leverage that hasn’t existed before, and that, we hope, will lead to Shaker’s release. First, there was a flurry of releases from Guantánamo, and then the damning 500-page executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s 6,700-page report on the CIA torture program was released, with its shocking details of cruelty, ineptitude and unaccountability, which seems to have managed to also focus some much-needed attention on Guantánamo.

We are delighted to report that today, unexpectedly, the Daily Mail joined the pressure to release Shaker, with the whole of its front page given over to Shaker’s story, under the headline, “Held in a hell hole for 13 years without trial,” and an editorial calling for his release.

In conclusion, for now, we hope you like the Human Rights Day video, and will share it as widely as possible.

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer and film-maker. He is the co-founder of the “Close Guantánamo” campaign, the 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 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. 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.

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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 and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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