20,674 reasons to bring Shaker Aamer home
Today, our Director Kate Allen took a trip to the US Embassy in London. She was there to hand over more than 20,000 signatures on our petition to Obama calling for the return of Shaker Aamer, the 44-year-old former UK resident who was one of the first detainees to be transferred to Guantánamo Bay in 2002.
In fact, 20,674 of you added your names - online, by SMS and by hand - in just over one month. An impressive number, which sends a strong message to the US authorities, along with 30,000 signatures gathered by our colleagues in America. Thank you to everyone that took the time to sign.
11 years behind bars
We chose to hand in your signatures today as the 14th February marks the 11th anniversary of Shaker’s detention in Guantánamo Bay - that’s 11 years he has been held without being charged, tried or convicted of any criminal offence. Shaker says that he has been tortured in that time and according to his lawyers, he has spent much of the last 11 years in solitary confinement.
What we want
Our petition calls on President Obama to either charge Shaker immediately with a recognisable criminal offence or release him. If he is to be charged, he must be given a fair trial. It urges Obama to investigate all allegations that Shaker has been tortured and otherwise ill-treated, and it calls on him to allow Shaker access to medical care.
The UK government has repeatedly called for Shaker to be returned to this country and our petition demands that the US authorities negotiate with the UK authorities about his release without delay.
We will continue to work on Shaker’s case and will work towards a resolution of all Guantánamo detentions in ways that fully respect international law. Guantánamo remains an international symbol of injustice, undermining security,respect for the rule of law and human rights principles. Stay up to date with our work on his case
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.