Photos: Shaker Aamer’s 5000th Day in Guantánamo – Vigil Outside 10 Downing Street, October 24, 2015


Campaigners marking Shaker Aamer's 5000th day in Guantanamo outside 10 Downing Street on October 24, 2015. From L to R: Chris Tranchell, Joanne MacInnes, Harriet Walter and Tania Mathias MP (Photo: Andy Worthington).See my photo set on Flickr here!

On Saturday (October 24), campaigners for the release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison, held a vigil on Whitehall, opposite 10 Downing Street, to mark Shaker’s 5000th day in Guantánamo, and the last day before his anticipated return from Guantánamo. The vigil was organised by the Save Shaker Aamer Campaign, with support from other groups including We Stand With Shaker and the London Guantánamo Campaign.

President Obama announced Shaker’s release on September 25, and Congress was then given a 30-day notification period, as required in US law in recent years. During the 30 days, Shaker told his lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith of Reprieve, that he had embarked on a hunger strike because of ill-treatment, and that he feared not making it out of Guantánamo alive, and as a result, myself and Joanne MacInnes, the founders and directors of the We Stand With Shaker campaign, set up Fast For Shaker, to encourage supporters to fast for 24 hours, on a day of their choice, in solidarity with Shaker, to encourage him to give up his hunger strike (which he did), and to keep up the pressure on the US and UK governments to make sure his release is not further delayed. We are encouraging people to sign up to fast until Shaker is released, joining the 406 people who have already done so.

After hearing that Shaker’s release has been delayed because of a visit to the prison by three Republican Senators over the weekend, we now hear that he may not be released until Friday, because of the presence of journalists for pre-hearings in the proposed trial of those accused of involvement in the 9/11 attacks.

The photos capture, I hope, something of the buoyancy of the day, as campaigners generally felt more hopeful than ever before. I still feel confident that Shaker will be released soon, I have to say, but I’m fed up with the dreary predictability of the delays. Tomorrow, I expect, MPs in the cross-party Shaker Aamer Parliamentary Group — meeting in the afternoon, along with campaigners, myself included — will have something to say about the failure to get Shaker back on Sunday.

Included in the photos are the actress Harriet Walter and Tania Mathias MP, who came along to show their support, and Bren Horstead and Andrew Fifield, two members of my band The Four Fathers, prior to us playing a version of Song for Shaker Aamer, featured on our debut album, Love and War, and also in the campaign video for We Stand With Shaker. See a photo of us playing here. There’s also a photo outside 10 Downing Street of myself and other campaigners preparing to hand in a letter to David Cameron — and see here for a video of me handing in the letter and delivering a message to the Prime Minister.

A link to the photos is also posted below:

Joanne MacInnes and Harriet Walter call for the release of Shaker Aamer from Guantánamo

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.

9 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Here’s my latest article, linking to my set of photos from Saturday’s vigil for Shaker Aamer outside 10 Downing Street, marking his 5000th day in ‪Guantanamo‬, and also providing an update on his release – now not expected until Friday, because journalists are at the base for the latest pre-trial hearing for the alleged 9/11 co-conspirators. So what? Enough excuses! Bring Shaker home to his family NOW! Tomorrow supportive MPs will be complaining loudly. Want to help? Please join the ‪‎Fast For Shaker‬:

  2. Martin says...

    Yeah, I never thought he would be released on a Sunday. I expect him to be released by Friday at the earliest.

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Here’s hoping, Martin.

  4. Anna says...

    Unbelievable. Let me guess, after the senators and the journalists, some GITMO general will be celebrating his 50th wedding anniversary – with assorted guests – on the base, then there will be the spring-cleaning-team at work,the presidential candidats’ pre-public-debate visit, the prison warden’s annual ball, Ensure’s quarterly shareholder meeting, the World Iguana Day celebrations and whatever else they can come up with …

  5. Anna says...

    Why do I get this message when I want to pledge a fast, while I have entered all the fields and double-checked my mail address?
    “Sorry, the data you entered was invalid. Please try again.”

    [and data are plural :-)]

  6. Martin says...

    Same here. Please keep us updated.

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, that sounds about right, unfortunately, Anna. There could always be someone or something. Nevertheless, I am hopeful it will be soon.

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    There are some problems with the website registration process, Anna. We’re trying to get it sorted out. Apologies.

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    Will do, Martin.

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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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