UK govt. must demand videos of Guantánamo Brit’s mistreatment from US

May 27, 2014

Image depicting force-feeding of Mos Def

Lawyers for the last remaining British resident in Guantánamo Bay have written to William Hague asking that the UK Government request to see video tapes of him being subjected to the violent procedure known as FCEs (Forcible Cell Extractions).

Shaker Aamer, who has been cleared for release from the prison since 2007, has been subjected to hundreds of FCEs – when a team of guards in riot gear forcibly remove the prisoner from their cell – during his time in Guantánamo.

The US government was forced to confirm in a DC court last week that such procedures are videotaped by the prison authorities. Judge Gladys Kessler ruled in the case of Abu Wael Dhiab that the US must hand over 34 video tapes of Mr Dhiab being FCE’d and force-fed.

In the letter to the Foreign Secretary Mr Aamer’s lawyer, from the legal charity Reprieve, requests that Mr Hague ‘ask the US hand over any such tapes without delay for viewing by the government and by his legal team.’

Given how often Mr Aamer is FCE’d, the letter says, ‘there are likely to be at least as many videotapes of his FCEings as there are of Mr Dhiab’s. I’m sure you’ll agree that such tapes would provide a unique record of the suffering Shaker has endured…which experts now say poses a grave risk to his health and wellbeing.’

Mr Aamer has described being FCE’d – sometimes up to eight times a day – in correspondence with his lawyers, saying about one such procedure ‘This time they did not just force me down on the floor of the room. They apparently decided that they had to get me dirty, so they threw me down in the passage way…’

Mr Aamer’s British wife and four British children live in South London and he has been imprisoned in Guantánamo since 2002. He continues to be held despite having been cleared for release under both the Bush and the Obama administrations and repeated British government has repeatedly asked for him to be returned to his family.

Clive Stafford Smith, Shaker’s lawyer and founder of Reprieve, said: “What is this constant FCEing but a daily routine of torture? The British government has a duty to find out what is happening to a man whose British wife and children wait desperately for him in London. They must demand that the Obama administration reveal the video footage they have of Shaker’s torture, or they become complicit in the cover up.”


Notes to editors

1. For further information, contact Reprieve’s press office on: / +44 (0) 207 553 8161

2. The letter to William Hague can be seen in full here.