3,000 days of Guantanamo Bay imprisonment for Battersea man Shaker Aamer
4:30pm Thursday 29th April 2010 in News
This Sunday, May 2, marks the 3,000th day since a Battersea man was imprisoned by the US in Guantanamo Bay.
Shaker Aamer was arrested in Afghanistan in 2001 but has been held in the Cuban prison since February 13, 2002, despite never being charged with any offence.
He has never been put on trial and, despite being cleared for release in 2007, his lawyers said he has remained in an isolated cell for three years.
In the run-up to Sunday, the Wandsworth Guardian - which has supported the Save Shaker Aamer Campaign (SSAC) campaign to release the dad-of-four, who has never seen his youngest son - is running a series of stories.
We start our coverage today with an exclusive interview with the Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, who maintains the British Government is pushing the American Government “at political and official level regularly” to secure Mr Aamer’s release.
Tomorrow, we will reveal a powerful statement by a former US colonel who claims President George Bush continued to detain innocent men in Guantanamo despite knowing they were innocent.
Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, a former Chief of Staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell, is the first senior member of the Bush administration to break silence on the US’s detainee policy and his statement provides a damning statements on the US’s war on terror. Lawyers said the revelations furthered claims Mr Aamer was innocent, and adds weight to claims he was tortured in Afghanistan.
Later this week we speak to Mr Aamer’s lawyer, who said the only evidence linking him to torture comes from witnesses whose evidence had been discredited and from information the US extracted from him during torture.
Finally we will look at Mr Aamer’s story, including the legal case and allegations of torture.
Last Saturday, SSAC held a rally outside Downing Street and handed a 1,500-signature petition to No 10. The demonstration heard speeches from a number of figures, including Battersea MP Martin Linton, while playwright Victoria Brittain told the demonstration about Mr Aamer’s son Faris.
She said: “Faris has no idea what it is like to be held by his father, to be picked up from school by his father or to be taken shopping. He has never known his love.”
She said when a man came to the family’s house to help with the gardening Faris asked “Is that my father?”.
The SSAC has sent an open letter to the Prime Minister Gordon Brown, which has been signed by the Bishop of Bath, Peter Price, who also has a seat in the House of Lords.
In a letter, the Labour Group of the London Assembly also voiced support the SSAC campaign.
The letter said: “There is surely a strong moral obligation to secure the freedom of a man who has been held without charge for eight years... Mr Aamer’s prolonged incarceration is a danger to more than Mr Aamer himself and the valued democratic principles of freedom but also savagely damages the lives of his family left behind in Britain."
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