There was an very interesting live broadcast from Guantanamo Bay this morning by Radio 5’s Victoria Derbyshire. I was lined up to speak during the final part of the show, but the live broadcast went so well I wasn’t required.
I would have spoken in support of Shaker Aamer, the last Londoner in Guantanamo Bay. It’s a shocking situation. He has been held without charge or trial for more than nine years, much of it in solitary confinement. His wife and four children – including a nine-year-old son he has never seen – live locally in Wandsworth.
The Save Shaker Aamer campaign, which meets regularly at Battersea Arts Centre, has organised letter-writing campaigns, a protest at Barack Obama’s state visit and a well-attended Save Shaker Aamer day which featured a march through Clapham Junction. Battersea’s former and current MPs have both lobbied government ministers to ask the American government to free Shaker Aamer.
Despite being cleared for release in 2007, he remains in Guantanamo and is reported to have begun a hunger strike in protest at his treatment. It appears that the US Presidential election will make it difficult for Shaker Aamer to be released in the next year, despite Barack Obama’s promise to close Guantanamo Bay in his first year in office.
Please let me know if you would like more information about the campaign.
GUANTANAMO ON RADIO 5 (AVAILABLE UNTIL SEPT 17)
Victoria comes live from the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay as part of 5 live’s coverage marking the anniversary of 9/11. She asks if the camp has changed in the 10 years since it was set up in the wake of the attacks.
Some of the camp’s most senior military officials, guards and kitchen staff talk to Victoria. She also looks round a maximum security facility, the kitchens and a hospital facility.
Moazaam Begg – the British man who was detained in Guantanamo bay for three years accused of being a member of Al Qaeda and later released with no charge – also talks to Victoria.
Victoria also speaks to a man whose father and step-mother were killed in the 9/11 attacks and who flew to Guantanamo Bay to watch the alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed take the stand
Also, Victoria speaks to a solicitor who represents a number of detainees in the camp and she discusses the claims of the last British resident being held at the camp – Shaker Aamer – who we’re told is on hunger strike.