A message from Tom Davies – Stop Torture Campaign, Amnesty International UK
30 October 2015
After more than 13 years detained without charge or trial in Guantánamo Bay, Shaker Aamer has finally been released. The last remaining UK resident in this notorious detention facility in Cuba, Shaker Aamer is soon to be reunited with his wife and children – the youngest of whom he has never met. After more than a decade of pressure by Amnesty supporters, dedicated campaign groups and parliamentarians, we would like to thank you for being part of ending this injustice. But questions about Shaker Aamer’s ordeal remain. Why was he detained at all, and why was his release delayed when he was twice cleared for transfer out of Guantánamo, in 2007 and in 2009? And what role did the UK play in his detention and treatment? Shaker Aamer says he was repeatedly abused in both Afghanistan and in Guantánamo. His claims of interrogation and abuse in Afghanistan in the presence of MI5 officers highlight once again the need for an independent judge-led inquiry into allegations of UK involvement in torture and rendition. And whilst we welcome this news today, Amnesty will continue to fight against the injustice of Guantánamo Bay, and the fact that more than 100 detainees are still being held there. We campaign for justice for hundreds of individuals like Shaker Aamer every year. Please help us continue this vital work. Thank you for your ongoing support,
In a brief statement given to his lawyers, Shaker has said he was “overwhelmed” by the support he has been given: “Without their devotion to justice I would not be here in Britain now.” He added: “The reason I have been strong is because of the support of people so strongly devoted to the truth.” Media sources say Shaker Aamer was accompanied on the plane by Metropolitan Police officers, to assist his safe return, as well as a doctor. They say at no point was he arrested and he was greeted by his legal team at the airport.
According to reports, Shaker went on to say in the statement: “My thanks go to Allah first, second to my wife, my family, to my kids and then to my lawyers who did everything they could to carry the word to the world…..”I feel obliged to every individual who fought for justice not just for me but to bring an end to Guantanamo……”Without knowing of their fight I might have given up more than once; I am overwhelmed by what people have done by their actions, their thoughts and their prayers.”