Zinnera Aamer met Foreign Office Minister Ivan Lewis in February to discuss how it was possible that her husband could be imprisoned for eight years despite never being charged with any offence.

She emerged disappointed and disillusioned, and made her way back to Battersea, to battle her depression - brought on by her husband’s arrest - and raise her four children, the youngest of whom has never met his father.

The plight of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident to be held in the Cuban prison camp, and his family, is not a story that has recently been uncovered.

He has been in Guantanamo since February 13, 2002, and his imprisonment is an insult to the rule of justice and democracy the Governments of the UK and US claim to defend around the world.

His story so far has been one of failure, but remains, for now, one of hope. Today, as he spends his 3,000th night in “the prison in the middle of the ocean”, his wife and family continue with the torment of living without a father and husband.

In February, Mr Lewis assured Mrs Aamer the Government was “doing all it could” to press the US for the release Mr Aamer - who was arrested in Afghanistan in 2001 on suspicion of helping the Taliban.

His detention since arrest is a story of failure. A failure of legal frameworks, a failure of politics and diplomacy, and, despite years of desperate effort, so far a failure of aid agencies, human rights groups and journalists to communicate a strong enough message to influence decision makers. It is also a failure common sense, of morals, of humanity.

He has been denied basic rights, basic redress to the law, or access to solicitors and contact with family and friends - whose concerns about his mental and physical health grow daily.

He claims he has been tortured, and that British Secret Service agents were complicit in that. He is viewed as a key witness in the case of another Brit who claims he was tortured and is also believed to be witness to the deaths of three detainees in June 2006 - which US authorities say were suicides but others claim were murders by US interrogators.

The three deaths, which were presented as suicides by hanging, could have been suffocations, Harpers Magazine said, suggesting it may explain why the US is reluctant to release Mr Aamer, who has claimed he was part-suffocated while being tortured the same evening. Lawyers describe his imprisonment as “A PR problem for the US and UK”.

Campaign Groups, like the Save Shaker Aamer Campaign which held the latest of many demonstrations last week, have raised the profile of the case without ultimate success.

Amnesty International planned to send a delegation to Washington in March to discuss the case in March, but US officials couldn’t meet them. “It’s very disappointing US officials were not able to meet us face-to-face to discuss Shaker’s case,” an Amnesty’s UK spokesman said. “We were prepared to go to meet them in Washington and we stand ready to do so again.”

Local politicians have been active, but senior figures have been unsure. When asked to comment, Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, simply offered: “Guantanamo has done great harm to the reputation of the USA and the western world. We hope the case of Shaker Aamer is receiving the attention it should be from the relevant authorities.”

And though journalists have uncovered truths, playwrites have developed scripts, filmmakers have aired documentaries and actors have joined the campaign, Mr Aamer remains under lock and key.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband said the case was being "actively engaged", and at the Foreign Office meeting Mr Lewis told Mrs Aamer: “It is the Government’s clear objective to get him back to the UK. We don’t shout about it because that won’t help”.

So what will it take for the Government to shout?

How about eight years detention without charge, how about him being held despite being cleared for release by a US detainee board in 2007, or him reportedly being held in isolation for nearly three years?

How about him being tortured, how about him being denied basic human rights and access to his lawyers?

How about the only allegations connecting him to terrorism coming from informants who have already been discredited in other cases and statements he gave to interrogators after torture?

How about death or the worries over the toll of the years of torture and isolation must have taken on him?

How about a former US colonel, a Chief of Staff to US Secretary of State Colin Powell, saying President Bush kept detainees in Guantanamo despite knowing they were innocent?

How about the notion Mr Mickum, Mr Aamer’s US lawyer saying “If he ends up dying down there, I have to say the British will have blood on their hands”.

The reason to shout now is precisely because his story, for now at least, also remains one of hope. Hope that in Guantanamo despite those years of isolation and mistreatment Mr Aamer is coping physically and mentally.

Hope that a Government and a system of basic rights that have failed him so badly finally come to his aid. And a hope that, after many years, he will finally be released back to his family in Battersea - or at least given a trial so that he and his family can begin to understand the reason for their torment.

After that February meeting Mrs Aamer said: “They say it is a political issue – then they should know what to do to get him back.”

She told Mr Lewis she writes almost daily in the hope that her letters will be read. That her husband is in a prison in the middle of the ocean and it is terrible to live with. She didn’t tell him she had suffered “psychotic episodes” since her husband’s arrest.

Johina, the couple’s eldest child, simply said, “I want my daddy back because I haven’t seen him in eight years. My smallest brother has never met his dad.”

And what about Mr Aamer, who reportedly cried when first he saw a photo of the son he has never met.

His lawyers claim he is being detained “because of what he knows not what he has done”. Former detainees say he is a charismatic, persuasive man, whose charm and influence made him a leader among detainees and a thorn in the side of US authorities.

Mr Lewis said the US had told him Mr Aamer “was a challenging prisoner” and a former Guantanamo colonel likened being with Mr Aamer in Guantanamo as “taking to the stage with Bon Jovi”.

What we do know is he was in Kabul, Afghanistan, when the US invaded in 2001. He claims he was helping to build a school. He was captured by villagers who sold him to the US for about $5,000.

He was taken to Bagram Airport, where he claims he was tortured, and later transferred to Guantanamo and tortured more without ever being charged with an offence. That is all we know.

That, and the fact that as the lawyers argue and politicians and diplomats meet and debate, the man and the story are kept silent in Guantanamo. Free Shaker Aamer now.

Paul Cahalan