Photos: 13 Years in Guantánamo – Protest for Shaker Aamer Outside 10 Downing Street, February 14, 2015


Campaigners call for the release from Guantanamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison, opposite 10 Downing Street on February 14, 2015, the 13th anniversary of his arrival at the prison (Photo: Andy Worthington).See my photo set on Flickr here!

February 14, 2015 was the 13th anniversary of the arrival at Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison, who, disgracefully, is still held, despite being approved for release by the US authorities twice, in 2007 and 2009.

To mark the occasion, the Save Shaker Aamer Campaign, with support from other groups including We Stand With Shaker (the group co-founded in November by Andy Worthington and Joanne MacInnes), the London Guantánamo Campaign, Reprieve and various Amnesty International groups held a lively protest opposite 10 Downing Street, with a number of speakers including Joy Hurcombe, the chair of SSAC, Katie Taylor of Reprieve, the journalists Yvonne Ridley and Victoria Brittain, the peace activist Bruce Kent, Andy Worthington and Shaykh Suliman Ghani, a teacher and broadcaster, and a friend of Shaker’s family. The speakers were ably coordinated by the campaigner David Harrold.

It was a great turnout, as I hope the photos show, and the particular focus of the event — just across the road — was David Cameron, the British Prime Minister. The British government claims that it is doing all it can to secure Shaker’s release, but that ultimately his fate is the in the hands of his US captors, but that is simply untrue. David Cameron could secure his return if he made it enough of a priority, which he should be doing, as Shaker is a legal British resident, with permanent leave to remain, and if any other legal resident found themselves imprisoned without charge or trial for years, and tortured, it is a safe bet to say that they would already have been released.

Representatives of the various campaigns delivered cards and messages to David Cameron after the speeches, and the journalist Peter Oborne — on the eve of his principled resignation from the Daily Telegraph — also turned up, and stood with Joanne MacInnes outside Downing Street, promoting We Stand With Shaker. On the morning of the launch of We Stand With Shaker in November, Peter wrote a powerful condemnation of Shaker’s ongoing imprisonment, and the indifference of politicians, for the Daily Telegraph, which was a huge boost for the campaign.

We are currently making new plans, in a bid to keep up the pressure on the British and American governments regarding Shaker’s ongoing, and completely unacceptable imprisonment, and will keep you posted. In the meantime, please feel free to sign Amnesty International’s petition for Shaker Aamer — to be delivered to both President Obama and David Cameron — which currently has over 31,000 signatures.

A link to the photos is also below:

13 Years in Guantanamo - Protest for Shaker Aamer, Whitehall, February 14, 2015

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer, film-maker and singer-songwriter. 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.

3 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When my friend Jan Strain shared this on Facebook, she wrote:

    Andy Worthington still doing what he does so well….Back in London and rabble rousing.

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Jan. I like to be rabble rousing! I’m in the studio tomorrow with my band The Four Fathers. We were supposed to be recording the last two songs for our first album, and then mixing the 10 songs, but two of us are ill, so the rest of us will get to work on the mixing, including my “Song for Shaker Aamer,” and other political songs – a cover of “Masters of War,” and my rabble-rousing “Tory Bullshit Blues.” We were supposed to be recording my two newest songs – “81 Million Dollars,” about Mitchell and Jessen, the drivers of the CIA’s torture program, and “Fighting Injustice,” a reggae stormer with the chorus, “If you ain’t fighting injustice, you’re living on the dark side.” Hopefully we’ll get to record these two very soon – and get our album out too! Facebook page coming very soon …

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Jan Strain wrote:

    Andy Let me know when the album is completed and on the market. I will be first in line (well, web-linked line).

    As far as rabble rousing – from one rabble rouser to another, there is nothing that feels more alive than rousing the rabble!

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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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