Cleared Londoner Shaker Aamer marks 13 years in Guantanamo without charge or trial

February 14, 2015

Image of Shaker Aamer in Guantanamo waving

Today [Saturday February 14] marks 13 years since the arrival of British resident Shaker Aamer at Guantanamo Bay, where he has been held without charge or trial ever since.

Mr Aamer, a father of four from London, has been cleared for release under both the Bush and Obama administrations, in a process which requires six government agencies to confirm that he poses no threat. However, he remains imprisoned in Guantanamo, despite repeated requests by the UK Government that he be returned to his family in South London.

Mr Aamer’s plight was most recently raised by David Cameron during talks at the White House in January, leading a spokesperson for President Obama to say the US would ‘prioritise’ his case. However, concerns about a lack of progress have been raised after Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel – whose signature acts as the final authorisation to release prisoners from Guantanamo – reportedly said that Mr Aamer’s file was not ‘on his desk’.

Today also marks the birthday of Mr Aamer’s youngest son, Faris, who was born on the day Mr Aamer was brought to Guantanamo Bay, and whom he has never been allowed to meet.

Commenting, Clive Stafford Smith, Director of legal charity Reprieve, which represents Mr Aamer said: “President Obama’s claim that he will ‘prioritise’ Shaker’s case rings rather hollow, since he is the most powerful person in the world and is perfectly able to put Shaker on a plane to London and his long-suffering family within 24 hours. Eight hundred years ago the Magna Carta assured us that to nobody will we ‘deny or delay justice’. Thirteen years in a military prison without charge or trial is an affront to the most basic standards of justice. The Prime Minister needs to tell Shaker’s children when their father is coming home.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

1. For further information, please contact Reprieve’s press office: +44 (0) 207 553 8140

2. Mr Hagel’s comments can be accessed here.