Rights group chides prolonged detention of UK man in Guantanamo News
Rights group chides prolonged detention of UK man in Guantanamo
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[JURIST] Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] on Friday denounced [AI report] the detention of British resident Shaker Aamer at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive], calling it a “mockery of justice”. Aamer has been held by the US since 2002 on claims that he was fighting with the Taliban. This weekend marks the ninth full year of his detainment, and the US is yet to charge him with any crime. Aamer is the last UK resident being held at Guantanamo, and he is the center of a high-profile Amnesty campaign [campaign website] pushing for him to receive a fair trial or to be released so he may return to his family in the UK. Commenting on Aamer’s incarceration AI UK Director Kate Allen stated:

The treatment meted out to Shaker Aamer has made a total mockery of justice. It’s been nine years without charges, without a trial and, in many ways, without much hope for Shaker, and we are determined to see his basic human rights restored. Now there could be light at the end of the tunnel for Shaker. Thousands of people on both sides of the Atlantic have recently called on senior UK and US politicians to break the deadlock over his case…Given the time involved, the lengthy spells in solitary confinement and the torture allegedly used against him, Shaker Aamer’s plight has been one of the worst of all the detainees held at Guantanamo. There are strong humanitarian and human rights grounds for the UK government to step up its efforts to secure a fair trial or a safe release for Shaker.

Aamer is originally from Saudi Arabia, but is married to a British citizen, and has four British children. He had been given permission to live in the UK indefinitely when he was arrested in 2001.

In November AI urged [JURIST report] the US and the UK to work towards the release [press release] of Aamer. Allen called on Foreign Secretary William Hague and US officials to give a specific timetable for Aamer’s release. The Hague and the US have been in discussions over Aamer’s release, but no formal indications of a release have been made. The UK agrees that if Aamer is released, they will be wiling to accept him, as they did with former detainee Binyam Mohammed [JURIST report]. Aamer is one of 16 Guantanamo Bay detainees for whom the UK government recently announced a settlement [JURIST report] agreement for allegations of torture. Those allegations prompted the UK to launch an investigation into torture allegations in May, as well as issue a ruling that state intelligence agencies cannot use secret evidence [JURIST reports] in their defense against abuse. Aamer has been described as an activist within Guantanamo, negotiating with US military officials over camp conditions and organizing hunger strikes when conditions did not improve.