Guantanamo Lawyers to Get Documents
- Lawyers for Guantánamo prisoner to get documents
By GREGORY KATZ
LONDON Lawyers representing the last known detainee at Guantánamo Bay with ties to Britain won the right Tuesday to see documents his lawyers believe will show that he was tortured. The British government immediately announced an appeal.
Judge Jeremy Sullivan ruled in favor of Shaker Aamer, a former Saudi-born British resident who is held by the U.S. government on suspicion of links to the al Qaeda terrorist network.
His lawyers said they need to see the documents to prove that he was abused in order to discredit confessions that were made under duress.
"Our present view is that this matter is clearly very urgent."
Sullivan said after hearing arguments in the Royal Courts of Justice in London. "If this information is to be of any use it has to be put in the claimant's hands as soon as possible."
The Foreign Office said the British government will appeal the ruling.
"We are disappointed by the court's decision," it said. "We will continue to argue strongly the point of principle involved in this case: That it is fundamental to the national interest of the United Kingdom that our intelligence and security services are able to operate without fear of having to disclose secret intelligence material."
The case focuses on Aamer whose wife and four children are British.
His lawyers claim his confessions were made only after he was tortured and subjected to degrading and inhumane treatment after his detention in Afghanistan in 2002. They maintain British agents were present while Aamer was abused while in U.S. custody.
No charges have been brought against Aamer.
Court papers claim that "there are strong grounds" to believe that British security and intelligence agencies were present at least twice during his detention in Afghanistan before he was transferred to Guantánamo Bay in Cuba.
Lawyer Richard Hermer cited similarities between his treatment and the abuse suffered by Binyam Mohamed, an Ethiopia-born British resident who was detained in Pakistan in 2002 and who claims he was repeatedly tortured in the presence of British agents. The Obama administration released him from Guantánamo in February.
Hermer said Aamer continues to be mistreated despite the change of presidential administrations in the United States.
"There has been no change," he said.
Clive Stafford Smith, who has represented Aamer in the United States, said that the British and American governments seem to working in unison to keep information about Aamer's treatment from being made public.
"It seems to be another big example of the British government working with the U.S. to hide their mutual wrongdoing," he said.
Although the Foreign Office opposes the release of the secret documents, it said it believed Aamer should be allowed to return to Britain.
"The decision on his future is entirely one for the United States but the U.S. authorities know well our outstanding request for his release and our offer to see him returned to the United Kingdom," the statement said.
[ACTION] Shaker Aamer
Posted By Dazeylin
December 9, 2009
Shaker Aamer is the last London resident being held in Guantánamo Bay. He is a long term British resident, a 42 year old Saudi national, with a British family, including a 7 year old son he has never met. Shortly after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan it is believed Shaker, like hundreds of others, was sold by tribal warlords and during detention suffered vicious torture in the dark Prison in Kabul. He eventually ended up in Guantanamo where much of his time has been spent in solitary confinement. According to David Rose (author and human rights investigative journalist `Guantanamo: America's War on Human Rights') so many innocent people "ended up there as a result of military-intelligence screening procedures in Afghanistan and elswhere that were flawed and inadequate, made still worse by the use of woefully poor and virtually untrained translators".
Shaker Aamer's story is a terrible human tragedy. Shaker has a seven year old son he has never met and his oldest child remembers him only from photographs. A family has been ripped apart for no legal or apparent reason and eight years on it is way past time for justice to be done Shaker needs to be returned home to London. Shaker Aamer has been described by MOAZZAM BEGG (author `Enemy Combatant' & ex-Guantanamo detainee) as a smiling, caring and unforgettable person who was very well-known in the south London area. Shaker has never been tried or charged and yet has been held in solitary confinement for far longer periods than other prisoners. During his time in Guantanamo Shaker Aamer has protested against the injustices at the prison.
A great number of people suffer greatly: family members, loved ones and communities, as a consequence of policies that lead to `rendition, torture and detention without charge'. In Shaker's case, family members and relations in Saudi Arabia have suffered greatly; even though his sister passed away and his father also died recently, Shaker has been denied contact with his family. It is also known that his mother's health has deteriorated considerably; she has become ill and losing her sight as a result of stress.
The UK has officially called for Mr. Aamer's release but Gareth Peirce, solicitor, whose firm represents Mr. Aamer, has rightly described Shaker's situation an "emergency". The UK must demand that Shaker Aamer comes back to Britain immediately and this will only happen when there is sufficient pressure. It is likely he would have returned by now if enough pressure had been put on the US, however, according to his solicitor, due to the UK's complicity, including the involvement of UK agents in his torture during interrogations, there appears to be little interest in pursuing this. Britain should inform the US that all the other residents and nationals who have returned are living normal, ordinary lives and have reintegrated smoothly into their communities.
1. Write to your MP
Please find below a new model letter for you to send to your MP about Shaker Aamer. It's as simple as copying and pasting it and e-mailing it to your MP. To find out who your MP is, please visit www.theyworkforyou.com  With every passing day, the situation of those Guantánamo prisoners who are not facing trial and do not have countries to accept them is becoming worse. The UK has asked for Shaker Aamer to come back here and must now do more to make sure that happens.
2. Write to Shaker
Shaker Aamer (239),
PO Box 160,
3. Write to the Foreign Secretary
Send regular emails to the Foreign Secretary (perhaps once a day) asking where Shaker Aamer is and what progress is being made in his case. A short, sweet message is enough. Email the Foreign Secretary at private.office@...
4. Send a message of support to Shaker's family (email to firstname.lastname@example.org om )
Letter to MP: http://freedetainees.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/Letter-to-MP.doc
Letter to MP: http://freedetainees.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/Letter-to-MP.pdf
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