Shaker Aamer’s wife pleads with Cameron – bring my husband back from Guantanamo

January 16, 2015

Image of Shaker Amer at Guantanamo

16 January 2015

The wife of a British resident held in Guantanamo Bay for the last 13 years has made a plea to the Prime Minister to secure his freedom during a meeting at the White House later today.

British resident Shaker Aamer, from South London, has been detained at the US prison camp since 2002, and has never faced a trial or been charged with a crime. He was cleared for release by the Bush administration in 2007, and again by President Obama in 2009. Mr Aamer and his British wife, Zinneera, have four British children.

In a letter sent to David Cameron last week, Zinneera said:

“Thirteen years ago my family was ripped apart when my husband, Shaker Aamer, was sold for a bounty and taken to Guantanamo Bay. He has never been charged with a crime. He has never faced a trial. He was cleared for release – told he could come home, in other words – by President Bush’s administration. He was then cleared for release a second time, by President Obama’s administration. We had such hope, when Mr Obama said he would close the prison – finally, we thought, our family’s ordeal will be over. It is hard to describe the crushing despair of having such hopes dashed. I know that you know all of this. But I hope that if I lay out the desperate state of affairs once again – and it would be foolish to suggest we are anything other than desperate – you will be moved to raise Shaker’s case with President Obama when you meet him, and that you will get Shaker home.”

Her intervention came as the Prime Minister told legal charity Reprieve, which represents Mr Aamer, that he would “raise his case” with President Obama during the visit, and “seek further assurances” that Mr Aamer is not being mistreated.

Cori Crider, a lawyer for Mr Aamer and a director at legal charity Reprieve, said:

“The last 13 years have been as horrifying an ordeal for Shaker Aamer’s British family as for Shaker himself. Successive UK governments have claimed to have ‘raised Shaker’s case’ with the US over the years – yet he’s still locked up in Guantanamo without charge or trial, suffering terrible mistreatment every day. Enough delays – David Cameron must listen to Shaker’s wife and children, and come back from the White House with a clear timeline for Shaker’s release.”


Notes to editors:

1. For further information, please contact Reprieve’s press office: alice [DOT] gillham [AT] reprieve [DOT] org [DOT] uk / +44 (0) 207 553 8160

2. The letter to David Cameron from Shaker Aamer’s wife can be read here.