Prime Minister: David Cameron
10 Downing Street,London, SW1A 2AA
Dear Prime Minister,
We are writing again to request that you act immediately to secure Shaker Aamer's release and return home to the UK. It is difficult for anyone to imagine the level of suffering undergone by Shaker Aamer - a father-of-four from Battersea - who has been the victim of mercenary kidnapping, unjust detention, and brutal torture. Shaker has been deprived of his freedom and human rights and incarcerated in Guantanamo for more than eights years without being charged with any offence.
In the past Mr Cameron, you have spoken highly of Britain's "proud tradition of providing a safe haven for those fleeing persecution" and, it would seem, you have a genuine respect for due legal process. Shaker too has been persecuted and has been held in solitary confinement. He has been subject to abuse and torture, and to the constant agony of not knowing when his unjust imprisonment and torment will end.
I am sure you agree that someone wholly innocent, who has never been charged or brought to trial for any offence has every right to family life. Shaker was failed by the previous Government and left unprotected. You and the new British Government now have the means to bring about a positive resolution of the situation.
The Save Shaker Aamer Campaign (SSAC) welcomes Foreign Secretary William Hagues statements with respect to an "Inquiry" into UK complicity in torture. It would be a travesty of justice if such an inquiry took place while at the same time, Shaker Aamer continues to be subjected to torture in Guantanamo. His story of abusive interrogations and torture must be heard. Any inquiry must be full and open and have the widest possible remit.
An important and relevant document the "Final Report - Guantanamo Review Task Force" published on 22nd Jan 2010 decided on the "proper disposition" -transfer, prosecution, or continued detention - of all 240 detainees subject to review. As you will be aware, the purpose of the review was to collect and examine information from across the US government to determine which detainees the US should transfer or release from custody, prosecute, or detain. The previous UK government was unable clarify the situation for us in Shaker's case they simply reiterated the view that any decision rested with the US. In other words the UK government approaches to the US have been weak and characterised by long periods of silence and inaction resulting in the unacceptable situation that we are still in the dark regarding what is happening to Shaker.
It is our view that Shaker poses no threat to the national security of the US administration. Nothing should stand in the way of Shaker being returned to the UK especially as he has already been cleared for release back in 2007. All other British former detainees have been released and returned to Britain after having suffered lengthy and horrific traumatic experiences and have re-engaged with British society in a wholly positive way. We have no reason to think Shaker would be any different. He has the love of his family and friends as well as the significant support of his local community.
Former hostage, humanitarian and writer Terry Waite CBE who as you know in 1987 travelled to Lebanon as an envoy for the Church of England, to try and secure the release of four hostages, was kidnapped himself and held captive until 1991. Pledging his support for Shaker's release Terry has said "I am writing this brief note in support of the British Resident Shaker Aamer who was cleared for release in 2007 by the former President of the USA George W Bush but continues to remain in detention in Guantanamo Bay..The fact that individuals have been detained for years in Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere, on suspicion, is disgraceful and ought to have no place in the procedures of any country that prides itself on respect for the rule of law. I add my voice to the many thousands of people who are profoundly disturbed by the detention of Mr Aamer and others and would urge that he be released forthwith."
SSAC calls upon you, Prime Minister, along with Foreign Secretary William Hague and the British Government to take up Terry Waite's advice, to make the strongest representations possible to the US administration to secure Shake's release and return to this country. It is time for Britain to be seen again as a country that cares about justice, protects the innocent and shows a respect for others. High level diplomatic, legal and medical delegations must be sent to the US and Guantanamo to secure Shaker's release and re-instate his human rights.
We would appreciate receiving your views on all that is stated above.
Ray Silk SSAC; Jean Lambert MEP; Victoria Britain writer; Moazzam Begg; John Clossick WSTWC; Bruce McKenzie Wandsworth Green Party.
Save Shaker Aamer Campaign - Last Londoner in Guantanamo (SSAC)