Lobby Your Parliamentary Candidates in the Run Up to the Election
Please write to your local parliamentary candidates encouraging them to take up Shaker’s case if elected. We have provided a template letter which you are free to use and or amend as you see fit -
- For example, if writing to the Greens you may want to mention that Natalie Bennet has posed with Shaker inflatable and that Caroline Lucas spoke passionately in the debate.
- Or that Conservatives David Davis, Alistair Burt and Andrew Mitchell are in the Parliamentary Group.
- If you are Tim Farron’s constituent you may want to congratulate him for his incredible speech in the debate (he may be going on the delegation to Washington for Shaker).
If your time is limited please at least write to the frontrunners. Use the www.yournextmp.com website to get their email addresses.
Here is a list of all the MPs who were in the Parliamentary Group for Shaker before dissolution. If yours is on the list you could write and congratulate them or just not write to them.
John MCDONNELL MP (CHAIR)
Jeremy CORBYN MP
Sir Peter BOTTOMLEY MP
Norman BAKER MP
David Davis MP
Neil Carmichael MP
Kate Hoey MP,
Caroline LUCAS MP
Katy CLARK MP
Sir John RANDALL MP
Ann CLWYD MP
Elfyn LLWYD MP
Andrew MITCHELL MP
Joan RUDDOCK MP
George GALLOWAY MP
Mark LAZAROWICZ MP
Andrew SLAUGHTER MP
Sir Bob RUSSELL MP
Naomi LONG MP
Joan WALLEY MP
Martin CATON MP
Nick HARVEY MP
John LEECH MP
Mark DURKAN MP
Alistair BURT MP
Yasmin QURESHI MP
Gerald KAUFMAN MP
Diane ABBOTT MP
Sarah TEATHER MP
Katy CLARK MP
David WARD MP
John HEMMING MP
Jim HOOD MP
Mike WOOD MP
Roger GODSIFF MP
Julian HUPPERT MP
Mike WEIR MP
Gavin SHUKER MP
Mike CONNARTY MP
Albert OWEN MP
Andrew DISMORE MP
Stephen TIMMS MP
David DAVIS MP
Hywel Williams MP
Dear [fill in the name of the candidate]
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. 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.
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. 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, convened by John McDonnell MP, formed at the end of last year and enjoys cross-party support with more than 30 MPs as members. There was a full Parliamentary debate about Shaker Aamer's case on 17th of March which concluded with all MPs 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 launched a major campaign to secure his return to the UK and recently delivered petitions to Downing St and the White House.
I'm writing to ask you to add your voice to the campaign. There are a number of things, if you're elected, I’d like you to do:
1. Join the Shaker Aamer Parliamentary Group, convened by John McDonnell MP.
2. Write to the Foreign Office, the US Secretary of State and US Ambassador Matthew Barzun asking what the obstruction to his release is. 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.
3. Ask an oral question of the FCO.
4. Pose for a photograph with the We Stand With Shaker campaign as over 30 other MPs have done.
This is a serious issue for me and will affect how I vote therefore I look forward to hearing from you with regard to your views about the suggested actions above.
 See: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2910758/Top-doctors-join-fight-free-Briton-Guantanamo-13-years-Eminent-physicians-warn-impact-Shaker-Aamer-s-health-join-list-signed-Mail-s-letter.html
 See: http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/1104738-aamer-medical-report.html
 See: http://news.sky.com/story/1426661/british-sons-plead-for-guantanamo-dads-release
 See: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/22/shaker-aamer-continued-detention-shames-society
 See: https://www.amnesty.org.uk/actions/bring-shaker-aamer-home-guantanamo
 See: http://westandwithshaker.org/