Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Former MI6 officer on hunger strike over Guantanamo Bay prisoner Shaker Aamer

Guantanamo Bay in Cuba
Guantanamo Bay in Cuba

A former MI6 officer went on hunger strike yesterday in support of Guantanamo Bay prisoner Shaker Aamer, motivated by shame at his former employer.

Harry Ferguson began a week-long protest yesterday, the latest prominent supporter to back a campaign as dozens of inmates continue a months-long hunger strike at a facility that the Obama administration promised to close.

 

Mr Aamer, 47, the last Briton at Guantanamo Bay, has been on hunger strike since March in protest at being kept at the prison for 11 years despite being cleared twice for the release by the US government.

 

“It is possible that I may die in here,” he said earlier this year through his lawyer. “I hope not, but if I do die, please tell my children that I loved them above all else, but that I had to stand up for the principle that they cannot just keep holding people without a trial, especially when they have been cleared for release.”

 

Mr Ferguson said he was motivated in part by shame having worked for an organisation which he said supported policies including torture and detention without trial.

 

“Guantanamo is causing more problems than it solves,” he said. “It’s aiding terrorism, it’s like having a recruiting office for terrorism. It makes no sense whatsoever to me.”

 

The Independent secured first-hand reports earlier this year about the hunger strike and detailed how 40 nurses were drafted into the facility to try to stem a mass suicide. Twice a day, the most weakened were taken into a room, strapped into a chair and force fed.

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