Fast For Shaker: Press Launch of New Campaign in Solidarity with Shaker Aamer, on a Hunger Strike in Guantánamo, London, Thursday 15th October


The poster for the new Fast for Shaker campaign, launched by We Stand With Shaker.I’m in a hurry, so please see below for the press release for tomorrow’s launch, in London, of We Stand With Shaker‘s new initiative, Fast For Shaker. This morning, I was at a meeting of the All-Party Shaker Aamer Parliamentary Group with MPs David Davis, Andrew Mitchell, Andy Slaughter, Tania Mathias and others, plus lots of campaigners.

Then I was in Kensington for an interview on London Live, about the launch of Fast For Shaker, which I hope is online somewhere. More info later. For now, here’s the press release. if you’re in London, please come along! Otherwise, keep signing up for the fast, and send in photos!

Celebrities, MPs and Campaigners Start Rolling 24-Hour Fast in Solidarity with Shaker Aamer, on a Hunger Strike in Guantánamo

MPs David Davis, John McDonnell, Caroline Lucas, Andy Slaughter, Tania Mathias, Tom Brake Attend, Plus Shaker’s Father-In-Law Saeed Siddique, representatives of Reprieve, Actor David Morrissey and Comedian Sara Pascoe

WHERE: Old Palace Yard, by the George V statue, opposite the Houses of Parliament, SW1P 3JY.

WHEN: 1pm, Thursday 15th October 2015.

A new initiative, Fast For Shaker, created by the We Stand With Shaker campaign, is being launched outside Parliament on Thursday, with the MPs David Davis, John McDonnell, Caroline Lucas, Andy Slaughter, Tania Mathias and Tom Brake of the Shaker Aamer Parliamentary Group. John McDonnell established the group last November, and is co-chair with David, and the MPs attending represent the group’s cross-party support.

Also attending are: Shaker Aamer’s father-in-law Saeed Siddique, representatives of Reprieve (Shaker’s lawyers), the actor David Morrissey, the comedian Sara Pascoe, We Stand With Shaker’s co-directors Joanne MacInnes and Andy Worthington, Joy Hurcombe, the chair of the Save Shaker Aamer Campaign, and numerous campaigners.

Over 200 supporters have already pledged to Fast For Shaker, including Shaker Aamer’s family, his lawyers Clive Stafford Smith and Cori Crider of Reprieve, the musician Roger Waters (ex-Pink Floyd), actors Mark Rylance, Maxine Peake and Harriet Walter, comedian Frankie Boyle, and MPs including David Davis, the co-chair of the Shaker Aamer Parliamentary Group, Andy Slaughter and Clive Lewis.

Supporters in the US are also fasting in solidarity with Shaker, including  actor Ed Asner, former Guantánamo guard Brandon Neely, retired FBI agent Coleen Rowley, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, Code Pink activist Medea Benjamin, and members of the campaigning group Witness Against Torture.

The Fast For Shaker website is here.

The US authorities told the British government on 25th September that Shaker Aamer, the last British resident held in the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, will be released and returned to his family in the UK after being held for nearly 14 years without charge or trial.

By US law, 30 days’ notice must be given to Congress before any prisoner can be freed from Guantánamo. In the meantime, however, Shaker has embarked on a hunger strike in protest at his ongoing abuse and his fears that, in his weakened state, he won’t live to see his family again.

Fast For Shaker is intended to show solidarity with Shaker, to encourage him to give up his hunger strike, and to keep pressure on the Obama administration to release him. He could be released by 24th October, at the end of Congress’s 30-day notification period, although there is no guarantee that he will be released immediately.

Andy Worthington said, “We are grateful to the media, to our celebrity supporters, to the MPs of all parties prepared to Fast For Shaker, and to the supporters in the UK, the US and around the world who have come together to show solidarity with Shaker and to keep up the pressure for his release.”

As Cori Crider of Reprieve said when pledging to fast, “I just saw Shaker in Guantánamo and I told him about what all you are doing to try to encourage him to be healthy. Under the censorship rules I am not allowed to say what he said, but I AM allowed to report that he gave all of you a very big smile.”

For further information, please contact:

Joanne MacInnes on 07867 553580 or email.
Andy Worthington on 020 8691 9316 or email.
In the US: Jeremy Varon on 732-979-3119 or email.

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.

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 I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Here’s information about the press launch of ‪#‎FastForShaker‬ – – outside the Houses of Parliament at 1pm today (Thursday October 15). Celebrities, MPs, and campaigners and members of the public from around the world are pledging to fast for 24 hours, on a rolling basis, in solidarity with Shaker Aamer, who is on a hunger strike in ‪Guantanamo‬, until he is freed. We want him to give up his hunger strike, and we want to keep up pressure on the Obama administration to make sure he is released, and returned to his family in London, as promised, in ten days’ time.

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Cahide Sen wrote:

    Thank you for not giving up.

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Thank you, Cahide. Supportive words like that help!

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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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