Tuesday, May 03, 2011

LGC Action alert: David Cameron must demand Shaker Aamer’s release and closure of Guantánamo during Obama’s visit to UK (24-26 May)‏

Action alert: Write to the Prime Minister: David Cameron must demand Shaker Aamer’s release and the closure of Guantánamo Bay during President Obama’s visit to the UK (24-26 May)

US President Barack Obama will pay an official visit to the UK on 24-26 May. Over the past year, Shaker Aamer’s case has been raised by both Foreign Secretary William Hague and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Following the recent disclosure of prisoner files from Guantánamo Bay through Wikileaks, the government has said that Mr Hague will again raise Shaker Aamer’s case with Mrs Clinton when she accompanies Barack Obama on his visit. Gordon Brown’s government first sought his return to the UK in 2007, along with that of four other men who have since returned. Why Shaker Aamer remains at Guantánamo Bay is unclear.

The London Guantánamo Campaign believes that President Obama’s visit is an ideal opportunity for Prime Minister David Cameron to raise Shaker Aamer’s case at the highest level, to demand his release and positive action, not backtracking, by the US president to close Guantánamo Bay and release all prisoners to safety. Recent disclosures and reports show that there are no grounds, moral, legal or otherwise, for the existence of Guantánamo Bay and instead it poses a security risk to both those detained within and those outside of it. Cameron and Obama must not waste this opportunity to bring Shaker Aamer back to the UK and discuss options and actions that lead to the closure of the prison at Guantánamo Bay almost a decade too late.

TAKE ACTION: Write to the Prime Minister:
Write a letter to Prime Minister David Cameron, raising some of the issues above and others or using our model letter below, to demand the release of Shaker Aamer, whom the government claims is the last lawful British resident in Guantánamo Bay, and the closure of the prison in talks with President Obama.
Send a copy to your MP (find them at http://www.theyworkforyou.com/)
You can write to the Prime Minister at:
10 Downing Street,
And e-mail him via: https://email.number10.gov.uk/

LGC model letter (can be copy/pasted or adapted):

Dear Mr Cameron,

I am writing to you concerning your forthcoming meeting with President Barack Obama when he visits the UK later this month. President Obama has recently reneged on his promise to close the prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, and has reverted to the dubious practices of his predecessor by authorising the resumption of trial by military commission, and signing an executive order to continue the indefinite detention of several dozen prisoners.

Both the previous UK government and your own have stated a wish to see the prison at Guantánamo closed. According to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, “the UK believes that the indefinite detention of detainees is unacceptable and we have repeatedly called for Guantánamo Bay to be closed”. These calls have clearly fallen on deaf ears.

Shaker Aamer, a British resident whose wife and children are British citizens, remains in illegal imprisonment at Guantánamo, with no apparent explanation for his continued detention. Both William Hague and Nick Clegg have raised the matter of his repatriation to the UK with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. According to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, “these discussions continue at a senior level” and the BBC reports that Mr Hague will raise this matter again with Mrs Clinton when she accompanies President Obama.

However, as heads of state, surely the time has come for you, as Prime Minister, to address these issues head on with President Obama during his forthcoming visit, to obtain the release of Mr Aamer, and the closure of Guantánamo Bay.

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