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Last British Resident in Guantánamo Marks 12th Year in Captivity Tomorrow
LONDON - February 13 - Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the US detention camp at Guantánamo Bay, has appealed to the British Government to apply new pressure on the US to secure his freedom, 12 years after his arrival at the prison on February 14 2002.
In a recent letter to his lawyer, Reprieve’s Director Clive Stafford Smith, Mr Aamer said:
“The world has to tell the US Government that… they have lost their direction. The people best placed to do this are the British Government.”
Mr Aamer also described the difficulties of daily life at the hands of the prison authorities:
“Yesterday, my fellow detainee Emad Hassan did not take his legal call, for the same reason every time he misses a phone call or a meeting. They intimidate him by telling him before he goes, ‘we’ll do a full body search’ – the ‘scrotum groping search’ as they call it. So Emad goes with them to the Camp 5 exit where they plan to do the search, and when he sees them ready to carry out a full body search, he tells them that he refuses the humiliation, and demands to go back to his cell.”
“The authorities don’t want someone like Emad to let the world know what has happened to him.”
The anniversary comes just days after a court in Washington D.C ruled that hunger-striking detainees, including Mr Aamer, can challenge their force-feeding in a federal court. A case brought by legal charity Reprieve and associated counsel Jon B. Eisenberg saw the court ruling two-to-one that the Federal District Court has jurisdiction to decide whether the techniques used to force-feed detainees in Guantánamo Bay violate the law.
Mr Aamer is currently on hunger-strike, and in increasingly poor health. In his latest letter to his lawyers, he reports that 35 detainees are now hunger striking, a marked increase on the figures most recently reported by inmates.
Aamer’s 47th birthday passed last December. Tomorrow (February 14) marks the 12th birthday of his son Faris, who was born on the day he was imprisoned.