19th November 2013: Shaker Aamer, the last British resident of Guantánamo Bay, has spoken publicly for the first time as part of a recording made by the American news programme 60 Minutes. The programme was broadcast in the US on 17th November.
Mr Aamer has been imprisoned at Guantánamo for 11 years without charge, despite being cleared for release by two successive US administrations. He was not pictured on camera during the programme but was heard speaking about the conditions in which he and other prisoners are being held. He said, “You cannot walk even half a metre without being chained. Is that a human being? That’s the treatment of an animal.”
Mr Aamer has British residency, and his British wife and children live in south London. However the US has threatened to send him to his birthplace, Saudi Arabia, when he is released. The UK Foreign Office has indicated that his case is a high priority and that they support his immediate return to the UK.
SRT grantee Reprieve is representing Mr Aamer. Clive Stafford-Smith, Reprieve’s founder and Director, said, “CBS’s show gives a very rare and very shocking glimpse inside Guantánamo Bay. Everyone in the prison – the guards and the men – is suffering horribly, day after day. Obama must fulfil his promise to close the prison and Shaker Aamer must come home to his family in the UK, which is what David Cameron has said he wants.”
Full story from Reprieve’s website: http://www.reprieve.org.uk/press/2013_11_18_PUB_shaker_aamer_heard_from_prison_cell/
Guardian article about the case: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/18/guantanamo-bay-british-resident
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