Petition on last Briton in Guantanamo hits crucial 100K mark

Guantanamo Bay
Guantanamo Bay

By Jo-Anna K. Burnett
 
A petition to release Shaker Aamer, the last Briton held in Guantanamo, has reached more than 100,000 signatures, potentially triggering a parliamentary debate.
 
His father-in-law, Saeed Siddiqui, hosted the petition to "achieve the immediate transfer of Shaker Aamer to the UK from continuing indefinite detention in Guantanamo Bay".
 
Shaker is now on a hunger strike with other prisoners, according to the prison rights group Reprieve.
 
"They are killing us, so it is hard to keep calm," Aamer said through his lawyer and director of Reprieve Clive Stafford Smith.
 
"In reality I am dying inside."
 
On Thursday, Sjaker said he went without water for 24 hours because guards refused to bring him any and that he was subjected to continuous forcible cell extractions (FCEs).
 
"I have bruises on my legs, knee, my arms where they carry me," said Aamer through Smith.
 
"They took everything … even my kids’ drawings. They ripped them off the wall," he said after a raid, and noted that ‘code yellows’ from fainting prisoners occur up to 15 times a day.
 
"They step on your fingers, your hands, they scratch you," he said.
 
"Yesterday, they tied me on the board and they threw me in a cell because the medical people were busy."
 
Most of the male detainees are on a hunger strike, including 86 of the 166 striking prisoners who were due for release years ago, according to Reprieve. Efforts to release them have halted.
 
Navi Pillay, UN high commissioner for human rights, issued a statement recently calling for Guantanamo’s closure, adding that its existence is a breach of international law.
 
Meanwhile, Reprieve and 25 other human rights nongovernmental, wrote an open letter to US President Barack Obama asking for the prison’s closure.

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