Human rights campaigners in Wales are urging Foreign Secretary William Hague to make a fresh public plea for the return of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident detained in Guantanamo Bay.
One of more than 100 detainees on hunger strike at the U.S. base, Aamer has been held for more than 11 years – despite being cleared for release six years ago.
“What is happening to this man is a disgrace. We have welcomed the government’s insistence that it wants him back in this country but are worried that any further delays might prove fatal,” said Baptist minister Roy Jenkins, chair of the Welsh churches’ campaign Christians Against Torture.
“We are appalled and ashamed at the way Shaker Aamer continues to be treated,” Jenkins said. “He has been repeatedly and extensively abused. He has spent long periods in solitary confinement, has lost a huge amount of weight and is very weak. There are real fears that he might not survive this ordeal.”
“He has never been charged with any offence, still less convicted,” Jenkins added, “and we believe our government has an obligation to step up its demands for his return to this country to be reunited with his wife and children.”
Christians Against Torture supporters have been writing to their members of Parliament and to Hague urging pressure on the United States for his transfer. They joined more than 100,000 people across Britain in an e-petition, which resulted in a recent parliamentary debate.
A previous Guantanamo campaign by the Welsh group focused on Omar Deghayes, who was released shortly after a petition urging his return to Britain was presented at 10 Downing Street.
Christians Against Torture, launched in 1981 by the former Council of Churches for Wales, is an agency of Cytûn Churches Together in Wales. It involves Christians of all traditions in working and praying for the abolition of torture and the care of its victims, of all faiths and none.