Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Amnesty call over Guantanamo case

Human rights campaigners issued a call over Shaker Aamer, the last British resident held in Guantanamo Bay

Campaigners have urged US secretary of state Hillary Clinton to resolve the case of the last British resident held in Guantanamo Bay quickly as they marked the ninth anniversary of the controversial detention centre.

Shaker Aamer, 43, has been held without charge or trial for almost nine years and it is time for him to be charged and tried or released, the human rights group Amnesty International said.

Kate Allen, the charity's UK director, wrote to Mrs Clinton, calling for "reassurance that the case will now be resolved quickly" and saying there was "mounting concern" in Britain over the failure of US authorities to resolve the case.

"Today we've reached the miserable milestone of nine years of Guantanamo Bay's lawlessness," Ms Allen said.

"Ever since the shocking September 11 attacks Amnesty has said that where the authorities suspect someone of terrorism then they should be charged and given a fair hearing - instead we've had Guantanamo, a total travesty of justice.

"Enough is enough. It's time for this travesty of justice to end. President Obama has got to deliver on his promise to close Guantanamo and all the detainees - including Shaker Aamer - have got to be either given proper trials or safely released."

Aamer was captured in December 2001 by the US, which has claimed he was fighting with the Taliban, and moved to Guantanamo the following year, but no charges have ever been brought.

He led the first hunger strike at Guantanamo and was one of the detainees who claimed that he was tortured numerous times in Afghanistan, including by US officials while British personnel were present.

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