MP vows to press for Aamer release
5:30pm Friday 2nd November 2012 in News
44-wa-shaker-aamer WA31463-24 (ellison) Battersea MP Jane Ellison has vowed to press for Guantanamo Bay detainee Shaker Aamer's release once the US elections have concluded.
Battersea resident Mr Aamer, whose wife and four children still live in the borough, was captured by American forces in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, in November 2001.
He has been held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, since 2002, where he has allegedly suffered terrible abuse resulting in a "catastrophic" decline in his health, according to Reprieve - a non-profit organisation which enforces the human rights of prisoners.
Mr Aamer, who was also suspected of being a cohort of Osama Bin Laden, has never been charged with a crime by the United States government and has never received a trial.
Mrs Ellison spoke at a meeting, held at the House of Commons on Monday night, which aimed to encourage the British Government to put pressure on their US counterparts.
Following the meeting, attended by 60 people, she said: "The transition period following the US presidential elections is always a time when difficult issues that have been put off for too long can be tackled.
"The British Government has reaffirmed that its policy is to seek Mr Aamer’s return to the UK and I will continue to press the case for this to happen in the critical months ahead."
Human Rights organisation Reprieve took up Mr Aamer's case and in 2007 he was granted clearance but has never been released and has been held in isolation for more than two years.
Speaking in the House of Commons on Tuesday, Foreign Secretary William Hague said recent changes to US laws regarding Guantanamo could make it easier to secure Mr Aamer's release but the decision would still ultimately lie with the US Government.
He said: "I have raised Mr Aamer's case numerous times with Secretary Clinton. And in June the Defense Secretary and I made representations to Defense Secretary (Leon) Panetta and any decision concerning Mr Aamer's release remains in the hands of the United States Government."
A documentary, called Shaker: A Decade of Injustice, was screened at Monday's meeting.
To watch the video visit www.spectacle.co.uk/projects_page.php?id=479
- From the 1970s onwards, Guantanamo Bay Naval Base was used to house Cuban and Haitian refugees intercepted on the high seas. In the 1990s, it held refugees who fled Haiti.
- The facility was established in 2002 by the Bush Administration to hold detainees believed to be connected with the war in Afghanistan and later Iraq.
- 779 detainees have held at Guantanamo Bay since its establishment in 2002
- By May 2012 there had been at least six suicides in Guantánamo that are public knowledge.
- As of September 2012, 171 detainees remain at Guantanamo.