Lobby Your MP For Shaker Aamer

In the run-up the the general election, it is important that MPs recognise the importance of Shaker Aamer's case, and act upon it.  Please refer to the template below - you can copy and paste it, or you can amend it as you see fit, and send to your MP. You can find your MP here.


Letter regarding the plight of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in Guantánamo



Dear [fill in the name of your MP]

 

I am writing to you to raise my concern regarding the plight of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the US prison at Guantánamo Bay, who, as I'm sure you know, has been held for 13 years without charge or trial despite twice being cleared for release by high-level US Government review processes in 2007 and 2009. He has a wife and four children, all of whom are British citizens, the youngest of whom he has never met.

 

In August 2014, Shaker’s lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, the founder of the legal action charity Reprieve, revealed that the ‘Forcible Cell Extraction’ team at Guantánamo have beaten Shaker Aamer over 300 times since his arrival at the prison in February 2002.[1] As Dr. Emily Keram, an independent medical expert, established after she was allowed to visit Mr. Aamer in December 2013, he suffers from extensive health issues including debilitating headaches, asthma, chronic urinary retention, and post traumatic stress due to his on-going detention and torture.[2]

 

The UK's official position is that "any decision regarding his release remains ultimately in the hands of the US Government”. However, what the US would like to do with Mr. Aamer is irrelevant, as the British Government has a non-negotiable responsibility to secure the return of Mr. Aamer, given his status as a legal British resident. I can find no grounds for believing that, given the special relationship between our two countries, David Cameron cannot do more. He should be using every means possible within his diplomatic arsenal to bring Mr. Aamer home to his family. If he were a white aid worker held without charge or trial by a foreign country, I daresay this injustice would not have been allowed to go on for thirteen years. It should shame the Government that Mr. Aamer is now the last European resident in the prison.

 

As you will know, public pressure on David Cameron led to the Prime Minister discussing  Mr. Aamer's case with President Obama during a visit to Washington DC in January, which resulted in the president stating that he would ‘prioritise’ Mr. Aamer’s case. Unfortunately,  there is no evidence that this has happened. The outgoing US Defence Secretary, Chuck Hagel, suggested recently that Mr. Aamer case had not been presented to him. We must be told what the obstruction to his release is.

 

Thanks to the work of campaigners, pressure in the UK continues to be exerted on the UK Government, and Mr. Aamer's case is becoming an election issue. See, for example, Sky News' coverage on Feb 13th, which ran all day on the hour.[3] In addition, the Daily Mail has made Shaker their ‘big campaign’ and run stories about the injustice of his ongoing imprisonment on a regular basis.

 

The Shaker Aamer Parliamentary Group, formed at the end of last year, which enjoys cross-party support with more than 30 MPs as members,[4] recently secured a full Parliamentary debate about Shaker Aamer's case on 17 Marchwhich concluded with all supporting the motion, “that this House calls on the US Government to release Shaker Aamer from his imprisonment in Guantánamo Bay and to allow him to return to his family in the UK.” Amnesty International has also launched a major campaign to secure his return to the UK.[5]

 

I'm writing to ask you to add your voice to the campaign. There are a number of things I’d like you to do:

1.Join the Shaker Aamer Parliamentary Group, convened by John McDonnell MP.

2. Make Shaker Aamer’s plight a part of your election manifesto.

3.Ask a question in PMQs urging answers as to why Mr. Aamer continues to be held.

4.Ask the same of the Foreign Office, the US Secretary of State and US Ambassador Matthew Barzun. Tell them your constituents will not settle for anything short of an agreed, fixed timeline for the release of Shaker Aamer back to the UK.

5.Ask an oral question of the FCO.

6. Pose for a photograph with the We Stand With Shaker campaign as over 30 other MPs have done.[6]

 

This is a serious issue for me and will affect how I vote. I look forward to hearing from you positively with regard to the suggested actions above.

 

Yours sincerely,