UK Guantanamo inmate joins hunger strike

By Tony Hudson

The only remaining British resident being held in Guantanamo Bay has joined the ongoing hunger strike being held by a large number of the detainees.

Shaker Aamer has joined a strike thought to involve as many as three quarters of the current 166 inmates of Guantanamo, according to estimates by lawyers for the detainees.

Aamer claims to have lost 30 pounds since joining the strike, but states it has also resulted in his being tortured in "excruciatingly painful" ways through sleep deprivation and subjected to 'forcible cell extractions' while trying to pray.

His lawyer claims the procedures are particularly painful due to the mistreatment Aamer suffered during his detainment in the US Bagram Air Force base in Afghanistan.

"The ongoing detention without charge or trial of these men is an affront to basic principles of justice," said Clive Stafford Smith, director of Reprieve.

"The UK just accepts routine assurances from the US that all is well, when all is rotten in Guantanamo Bay. Does the UK really take the position that there is nothing more that can be done if a close ally is committing the on-going torture of Shaker Aamer?"

Aamer has been detained in Guantanamo Bay for over 11 years, despite the public calls from foreign secretary William Hague for his release.

The detention centre at Guantanamo Bay remains operational several years after President Obama signed an executive order demanding its closure shortly after his inauguration in 2009.