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'Heartbreaking' moment Shaker Aamer saw first photo of son

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'Heartbreaking' moment Shaker Aamer saw first photo of son
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Liittynyt: 07 Hel 2005
Viestejä: 102
Paikkakunta: helsinki

Lähetä 'Heartbreaking' moment Shaker Aamer saw first photo of son Vastaa lainaamalla viestiä
By Paul Cahalan

Clive Stafford Smith, director of human rights organisation Reprieve, has said he believes Shaker Aamer is being detained in Guantanamo because of what he has witnessed there, not because of his threat to US security.

Mr Stafford Smith, the lawyer representing former Guantanamo detainee Binyam Mohammed, also revealed Mr Aamer broke-down when he saw a photo his youngest son - who he has never met - for the first time.

He said: “I have known Shaker for sometime, because he is so eloquent and outspoken about the injustices of Guantanamo he is very definitely viewed as a threat by the US.

“Not in the sense of being an extremist but in the sense of being someone who can rather eloquently criticise the nightmare that happened there.”

He added allegations Mr Aamer was being gagged were strengthened by an article claiming US government officials may have conspired to conceal evidence three Guantanamo detainees could have been murdered during interrogation.

Harper’s Magazine said three deaths, which were presented as suicides by hanging, could have been suffocations in a secret part of the compound known by guards as “Camp No”.

It also suggested it may explain why the US is reluctant to release Mr Aamer, who has claimed he was part-suffocated while being tortured the same evening.

Mr Stafford Smith, who has visited Mr Aamer in the Cuba prison, said: “They suggests the reason the US has not released Shaker it nothing to do with anything he has done rather it is because the US is afraid of what he was going to say.

“This [article] is merely confirmation, fairly stark confirmation that the reason they wanted not to send him home to his family in England, but rather to send him to Saudi Arabia [his native country] was simply to gag him.”

With numerous claims of torture during nearly eight and a half years of detention [eight of those in Guantanamo with significant periods in solitary confinement] Mr Aamer’s failing health was a concern, Mr Stafford Smith said.

“He has been very damaged by what he has been through. He is a very eloquent person and became the spokesperson for many prisoners in Guantanamo because he has very good English,” he said.

“But I think he has come to a position, there is a position where when you kick a dog, if you keep on kicking the dog, the dog is actually better off than when you are nice to it and I think in a sense that was actually where he was at.”

He said Mr Aamer was respected in Guantanamo “because he has refused to die down to the nightmarish pressures”, but that despite being mentally strong Mr Aamer broke down when shown a family photo, he said.

“The only time I have seen him emotional was over his family. I was able to get pics of the youngest kid into him but that was very heartbreaking for him in a way he didn't want to see it,” he said.

“I saw him for the first time in May 2005 and got a photo into him shortly after that, he really broke down at that because it was so difficult.”

Former Guantanamo detainee Mozzam Begg has said Mr Aamer’s long periods of solitary confinement in Guantanamo Bay were due to him trying to help other inmates, and said his continued imprisonment was nothing to do with a security threat.

He said: “The reason they have Shaker is because of how much he knows. Shaker is an inspirational figure. His personality is such that he was able to talk to the inmates and be a voice for them with the authorities.

“One of the things Binyam [Mohammed] told me is he believes Shaker will not be returned because of a delegation about the hunger strike.

“They tried to break the hunger strike through negotiation but when the Americans renaiged on a deal the hunger strikes restarted and they held Shaker responsible.”

Mr Begg said the Harper’ allegations Magazine added to his belief.

“I always knew there was somewhere secret place outside the perimeter of where the normal military run," he said.

“What surprised me were the allegations of waterboarding, I didn't know about that. It hasn't surprised me the depth of the allegations.”

The source for the article were former Guantanamo guards, one a sergeant.

Mr Begg said: “The only way the authorities can rubbish this [story] now is to rubbish every single one of these soldiers which is going to be ridiculous.

“I'm getting in contact with Guantanamo guards to ask them how this happened. They have got to be brave and step forward and say what took place.”
Per Hel 12, 2010 6:45 pm Näytä käyttäjän tiedot Lähetä yksityinen viesti MSN Messenger

Liittynyt: 07 Hel 2005
Viestejä: 102
Paikkakunta: helsinki

Lähetä Vastaa lainaamalla viestiä
by Andy Worthington

In December, lawyers for Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in Guantánamo, won an important court case in which judges ordered the British government to release information in its possession regarding claims that MI5 agents were present in the US prison in Kandahar, Afghanistan, when Shaker Aamer was subjected to torture, prior to his transfer to Guantánamo.

Paul Cahalan of the Wandsworth Guardian, covering the borough that Shaker Aamer once called home (and where his British wife and four children live), wrote about this story at the time, and on Thursday he provided important updates, speaking to Shaker’s US lawyer, Brent Mickum and his London-based lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, director of the legal action charity Reprieve.

Speaking about the recently released files, Brent Mickum told Cahalan that “nothing in those documents has changed my mind” about the torture to which Shaker was subjected in Afghanistan, and the false confessions that he made as a result. In fact, he said, the information “reinforced” Shaker’s claims.

Mickum also made reference to an extraordinary article by the US law professor Scott Horton, published in this month’s Harper’s Magazine, which thoroughly undermines the official narrative regarding the deaths of three prisoners in Guantánamo on June 9, 2006, who reportedly committed suicide. Following up on a report by the Seton Hall Law School, which revealed that the official report was, literally, incredible, and full of glaring omissions and a plethora of contradictions, Horton drew on accounts given by several US military personnel stationed in the guard towers that night, who were able to see into the cell block where the men reportedly hanged themselves, and who all stated that they saw no one hanging, and saw no bodies being moved from the cell block to the clinic, where they were pronounced dead. Instead, one of the men, Staff Sgt. Joe Hickman, reported the movements of a vehicle that traveled from the prison to a secret facility outside the perimeter fence — known to the Guantánamo personnel as “Camp No” — which returned shortly before the men’s deaths were announced.

Shaker Aamer’s role in this story — which appears to involve a chilling and far-reaching cover-up — concerns statements he made to his lawyers, describing how, on the night that the three men died with gags stuffed in their mouths, he too was gagged and beaten so mercilessly that he was lucky to survive.

To read the rest of the article click here:
Lau Hel 13, 2010 8:07 pm Näytä käyttäjän tiedot Lähetä yksityinen viesti MSN Messenger
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