This Michaelmas, from 14th – 16th October, the Amnesty Cage will emerge once again from hibernation to draw the startled attention of passers-by, perching on King’s Lawn in all its ancient and somewhat shabby glory. We need you to make it work! Cambridge Amnesty members have been spending their days and nights manning the petition stall and huddling behind bars for at least fourteen years. From one angle, that’s something to be proud of. From another, it illustrates just how longmany injustices still drag out.
One such injustice we continue to highlight this year is the detention of Shaker Aamer, a British resident and father of four who has been held since 2002 without charge in Guantánamo Bay. Despite President Barack Obama’s executive order of 2009, which committed the US Administration to closing Guantánamo within a year, 171 men are still held there. Shaker Aamer is the last British resident left in Guantánamo Bay, and despite calls for his return by the UK government, he remains in indefinite detention. This constitutes a serious human rights violation – one which by February 2012 will have continued for ten years.
Shaker Aamer must either be given a fair trial in US federal courts or released back to his wife and children in the UK. To make sure that he is not forgotten, and to keep the pressure firmly on the US government to end this travesty of justice, we will be getting petitions signed by the public and letting as many people as possible know what’s going on. Stand up for human rights, meet new people – and enjoy free biscuits!
To date, only one Guantánamo detainee has been transferred to the US mainland for trial in a civilian court; trials by military commission do not meet international standards of fairness.
Aamer is originally from Saudi Arabia but is married to a British citizen and has four British children. He had permission to live indefinitely in the UK when he was originally detained in Afghanistan by Afghan forces in the autumn of 2001.
Through his lawyer, Aamer has alleged that he was badly beaten and subjected to death threats in front of an MI5 officer as well as US intelligence officials while being secretly held and interrogated in Afghanistan in early 2002. In February 2002 Aamer was transferred to Guantánamo Bay. There are allegations that he was again tortured there, and he has spent long periods of his incarceration at the camp in solitary confinement.
Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen sums it up: “Shaker has already had nine years of his life stolen from him, he says he’s been horribly tortured and he’s still sitting in a cell without any form of due process.”
Sign up here! Note: the purpose of the form is not to collect people’s availabilities, but rather to let you decide which slot you intend to attend. Signing up to more than one slot is possible and encouraged, but you are invited to attend all those to which you sign up for if possible !