Monday, November 25, 2013

The shame of Shaker Aamer's wrongful incarceration for 12 years.

On Saturday I joined other protesters in London in concern for the shameful, illegal and immoral imprisonment of Shaker Aamer in Guantanamo Bay. Shaker has been tortured and considering the gravity of the offence of human-torture in this age of enlightenment from western states which peddle a myth that we live in a free society, it was rather surprising there were not more people present to mark the twelve years of this total injustice. There again, few spoke out about the Nazi concentration camps during the Second World War.

Protesters pass the mosque where Shaker used to worship

Shaker's imprisonment is a total injustice because he is innocent of any crime, has been cleared for release twice by two separate US investigations, the first six years ago, the second four years ago, the latter during Obama's term of office. Obama himself has confirmed that it is an injustice to keep him in Guantanamo concentration camp. Barrack Obama is president of the United States, yet it seems he is answerable to some higher authority, because although he has approved Shaker's release, he has not acted on that approval. Likewise in the UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague have called for Shaker's return. As one of the speakers, Guardian journalist Victoria Brittain, pointed out there is a likely conflict between the security services and government, because the UK security services are allegedly complicit in his torture when Shaker was first arrested. Anyway the UK is just a pawn in the US middle game, subservient and dispensable.

Also on the platform was independent journalist Andy Worthington who wrote The Guantanamo Files (Pluto Press 2007) and has been a doughty campaigner on human rights' abuses for many years. He made an impassioned delivery regarding the injustice and how frustrated we all feel that the best Cameron and Hague can do is write to Shaker in Guantanamo. Shaker remains in prison because the UK secret services are party to the torture of an innocent man, as is former Home Secretary Jack Straw, who must have approved this torture. So to protect the guilty an innocent man is made to suffer. He suggested, tongue-in-cheek that we should occupy William Hague's office. That is how frustrating it is becoming. What do we need to do to make our leaders do the right thing?

Hamja Ahsan speaking about his brother's imprisonment in a US Supermax prison

The brother of Talha Ahsan told of another injustice emanating from the desk of current Home Secretary, Theresa May, the extradition of Talha to the US together with Babar Ahmad. These wrongly-served men cannot see their families, have collectively spent 16 years in prison without trial, and are currently being held 23 hours every day in solitary confinement. I have covered their plights in previous blog-posts and with every passing day it is another day of injustice and torture for them and their families. One day justice might be seen to be done. The so-called 'war on terror' has been a turning point in the UK legal system because the anti-terrorism acts the 'war on terror' has spawned have led to breaches in the first principle of habeas corpus. These terrorist acts have not been committed by men with weapons but by the US and UK governments themselves. Shame on them!