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Open Letter to Prime Minister David Cameron on Ninth Anniversary of Guantánamo

London Guntánamo Campaign | 11.01.2011 08:33 | Guantánamo | Terror War | World

The London Guantánamo Campaign, along with PeaceStrike, will this morning deliver a letter to Downing Street asking the Prime Minister David Cameron to take immediate action to secure the release and return to the UK of Shaker Aamer, seek the release of other prisoners to the UK on humanitarian grounds and help the US close Guantánamo Bay. The letter has been signed by 75 individuals and on behalf of organisations. Signatories include MPs Caroline Lucas and John McDonnell, MEPs Jean Lambert and Baroness Sarah Ludford, London Assembly Member Darren Johnson, Bruce Kent, Victoria Brittain, Andy Worthington, Lindsey German, Kate Hudson and many others.

The Guardian newspaper printed a shorter version of this letter today:

Letter and full list of signatories (in alphabetical order):

Dear Prime Minister,

Guantánamo Bay has now been open for nine years. During that time, your predecessors were successful in securing the return to the UK of all British nationals held there, and all but two of the former British residents. Nevertheless, they were knowingly complicit in the ordeal of the men and their families. Almost a year after the expiry of President Obama’s own deadline to close Guantánamo, the facility still holds some 174 prisoners.

We welcome recent efforts by Foreign Secretary William Hague and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to raise the case of Shaker Aamer, the last legal British resident in Guantánamo Bay, with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. These measures must translate into his immediate and unconditional release and return to his family in the UK. Shaker has never been charged or tried for any crime, and no reasons have been given by the US for his continued detention, despite him being cleared for release in 2007. Shaker is, like you, a father, but his four children have had to grow up without their father for the past nine years, and his youngest son has never even met his father. We urge you to intervene personally in his case.

Guantánamo Bay will not close without concerted efforts by the international community, and Britain must play its part and follow the lead of other European countries that have accepted innocent prisoners on humanitarian grounds. One such man with links to the UK is Ahmed Belbacha, also cleared for release since 2007, who resided in Britain for two years. He cannot return to his native Algeria for fear of his life and liberty, so he continues to languish in Guantánamo. We would ask you to urgently request his return to the UK, and to offer to take other cleared prisoners awaiting release in order to make possible the early closure of Guantánamo.

A series of military tribunals at Guantánamo Bay over the past year, including that of a child soldier, Omar Khadr, show clear contempt for justice and the rule of law by our US allies. In 2011, four years away from the celebration of 800 years of the Magna Carta and the rule of law in England, influential in US and international law, the United Kingdom must show greater leadership in ensuring that basic legal and humanitarian principles are upheld.

We, the undersigned,

Len Aldis, secretary of Britain-Vietnam Friendship Society
Mark Barrett, Campaign for Real Democracy
Councillor Jonathan Bloch Lib Dem Councillor, Haringey Council
Victoria Brittain
Adrienne Burrows, Peace and Justice in East London
Chris Cole, Figtree
Liz Davies, Chair, Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers
Hilary Evans, Kingston Peace Council/CND
Maria Gallastegui, Peacestrike
Lindsey German, convenor of Stop the War Coalition
Richard Haley, Chair, Scotland Against Criminalising Communities
Noel Hamel, Chair, Kingston Peace Council
Maryam Hassan, Justice for Aafia Coalition
Desiree Howells, Peace and Justice in East London
Kate Hudson, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
Joy Hurcombe, Brighton Against Guantánamo
Cllr Darren Johnson, Green Party member of London Assembly
Bruce Kent, vice-president of Pax Christi
Les Levidow, Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC)
Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion
Sarah Ludford, Liberal Democrat MEP
Aisha Maniar, London Guantánamo Campaign
Millius Palayiwa, Director, Fellowship of Reconciliation, England
Asim Qureshi, executive director of Cageprisoners
Milan Rai, co-editor of Peace News
Estella Schmid, Campaign Against Criminalising Communities
Ray Silk, Save Shaker Aamer Campaign
Walter Wolfgang, Labour CND
Rosemary Addington
Khadijah Al-Hilali
Dr Shahrar Ali, Green Party
Bisher Al-Rawi
Karima Azzouni
Abduljaleel Bain
Steve Barnes
Shaun Brown
Maude Casey
Manish Dhokia
Paschal Egan
David Ferrard
Aman Fida
Michael Fisher
Martin Francis
Anne Gray
C.C.H. Gwyntopher
David Harrold
Mary Holmes
Gillian Hurle
Miranda James
Ewa Jasiewicz
Zelda Jeffers
N.M. Kleinman
Ann Kobayashi
Sarah Lasenby
Christine MacLeod
Jim McCluskey
Simon Moore
Corinna Mullin
Anita Olivacce
Roshan Pedder
Mike Phipps
Malcolm Pittock
Ian Pocock
David Polden
M.A. Qavi
Emma Sangster
Daniel Viesnik
Sam Walton
Frances Webber
Adrian White
Adrian Windisch
Richard Wolff
Andy Worthington

London Guntánamo Campaign
- e-mail: london.gtmo [at]


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