Socialist Worker

Campaigners celebrate Shaker Aamer's release from US prison camp

by John Clossick
Issue No. 2477

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell and Imam Suliman Gani

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell and Imam Suliman Gani

Shaker Aamer, the last British resident held in US prison camp Guantanamo Bay, has been released after over 13 years. He is finally being flown back to London.

He has been held without charge since 2001. Shaker was working for an Islamic charity in Afghanistan, when US forces rendered him to Guantanamo Bay claiming he had been fighting for Al Qaida.

Joy Hurcombe, chair of Save Shaker Aamer Campaign (SSAC), told Socialist Worker, “It’s is brilliant news – he now needs to be allowed to recover in his own time.”

The US admitted in 2007 that they had no evidence against Shaker and said it would release him to Saudi Arabia.


Labour and Tory governments are responsible for the eight years it has taken to free him.

Joy said, “SSAC, along with Reprieve and Amnesty International, is calling for an independent judge-led inquiry into why he was left for so many years without effective UK support.” 

The British government is nervous about what Shaker may reveal about its complicity in the US torture programme. It has given the US “robust security assurances”.  

Britain’s collusion with the extra-judicial events at Guantanamo needs full public examination.

Shaker should not be prevented from speaking out as a witness to torture and deaths in Guantanamo.

He was arrested as part of the “war on terror”. The West ramped up Islamophobia to clamp down on Muslims and justify their imperialist wars in the Middle East.

Imam Suliman Gani, another leading campaigner, told Socialist Worker “Shaker is a great symbol to all Muslims. This Friday, the day of our prayers, is now a very special day for us. 

“The campaign needs to get stronger for the release of the other 112 prisoners who have been treated like Shaker – and for the final closure of Guantanamo.”

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Fri 30 Oct 2015, 11:55 GMT
Issue No. 2477
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