November 19, 2013
The last British prisoner being held at Guantanamo Bay has spoken from his prison cell for the first time. Shaker Aamer, who has been incarcerated at the US military prison since 2002, spoke to CBS’s 60 Minutes show.
Shouting from his cell he said: “Tell the world the truth … Please, we are tired. Either you leave us to die in peace – or either tell the world the truth. Open up the place. Let the world come and visit. Let the world hear what’s happening. “Please colonel, act with us like a human being, not like slaves.”
Mr Aamer, one of 164 prisoners at Guantanamo, has been held for 11 years without charge and is accused of being a close associate of Osama bin Laden, which he denies. He has been cleared for transfer by both the Bush and Obama administrations, according to Reprieve, the legal charity and human rights group which is representing him.
Earlier this year, Prime Minister David Cameron raised Mr Aamer’s case with President Barack Obama at a G8 summit and the British government has repeatedly stated that it wants him returned to the UK. Despite having British residency and a British wife and four children living in Battersea, London, US authorities have repeatedly threatened to send him back to Saudi Arabia, his birthplace, against his wishes.
Mr Aamer was detained in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2001 after he went to the country to carry out voluntary work for an Islamic charity, Reprieve said. It is alleged that he was tortured at the Bagram Air Force base while being questioned by US forces and in February 2010 it emerged that the Metropolitan police was investigating allegations of MI5 complicity in his torture.
“The Deputy Prime Minister went on to raise Mr Aamer’s case with Vice-President Biden in September. We are confident that the US government understands the seriousness of the UK’s request for Mr Aamer’s release. Although he admitted that “Any decision regarding Mr Aamer’s release ultimately remains in the hands of the United States government. We continue to monitor Mr Aamer’s welfare through engagement with the US authorities.”