You guys know how I feel about GUANTANAMO BAY CONTINUING TO HOLD PEOPLE ILLEGALLY WITHOUT CHARGING THEM AND BLOODY HOLDING THEM FOR YEARS AFTER THEY HAVE BEEN CLEARED.
Back to serious journalist mode.
The last British resident detained at Guantánamo Bay is suffering from a potentially life-threatening medical condition as well as post-traumatic stress disorder, and should be returned urgently to his family in London, his lawyers have argued.
Shaker Aamer, who was cleared for release by the US seven years ago, “requires psychiatric treatment, as well as reintegration into his family and society,” according to a 20-page report of a medical evaluation carried out by Dr Emily Keram, an independent psychiatrist, who depicted a grim tale of Aamer’s declining health after extended periods of torture and mistreatment.
Aamer, who Reprieve said in court documents is 47, has been imprisoned at the US naval base in Cuba since February 2002. US military files leaked in 2011 said that he was suspected of being “a member of al-Qaida, with significant ties to senior level extremists”. However, he has never been charged with a crime.
His lawyers said in a motion filed to a federal court in Washington that both the Geneva Conventions on war and US military regulations suggested that he should be released due to ill health. “Even if he receives the intensive medical and therapeutic treatment his condition requires, Mr Aamer will take many years, if not a lifetime, to achieve any significant recovery,” they said.
Keram’s 20-page report depicts a bleak 12 years in the life of Aamer, a Saudi citizen who once worked for immigration lawyers in London, where his wife and four children still live. He has suffered “significant disruptions in his ability to function,” according to the psychiatrist, and frequently lost concentration or began “suddenly and loudly singing” to distract himself during their interviews.
After 25 hours of evaluation, Keram concluded that Aamer was suffering from severe edema which, “if left untreated, may reflect an underlying life-threatening organ or vascular dysfunction”. She also found he endured severe tinnitus, debilitating headaches, asthma, ear pain, worsening vision, kidney pain and other physical ailments.
Keram said that she had further diagnosed Aamer with PTSD and depression. She said that he was suffering from anxiety, paranoia, insomnia and a number of other serious psychological problems, and experienced difficulty eating and using the bathroom after years of being deprived access to both.
Aamer claimed to have been beaten and tortured by his Afghan captors in 2001 and then by the US forces to whom he was transferred. He was kept awake for 10 straight days while detained at Kandahar airfield, he said, where one interrogator threatened to rape his five-year-old daughter. “A British agent came to see me, a young officer with a red beret,” Keram quotes him as telling her. “I wouldn’t talk with him because he said he couldn’t do anything to help me.”
The mistreatment continued once he arrived at Guantánamo, Aamer said. He claims to have been “tied up” for 36 hours at a time and left exposed to the elements in an open-air cage. “I told the interrogators everything to decrease the torture severity,” Keram reports that he said.
In their motion to the court, Aamer’s lawyers cited the third Geneva Convention, which states that parties in a conflict “are bound to send back to their country, regardless of number or rank, seriously wounded and seriously sick prisoners of war”. They also pointed to a US Army regulation that states “chronically ill prisoners” are eligible for repatriation if they are not expected to recover within a year.
Clive Stafford Smith, one of Aamer’s lawyers, sent a copy of Keram’s report to the British foreign secretary William Hague, and asked the UK government to file a brief in support of Aamer’s release. The government has already stated publicly that Aamer, who was again cleared for release by the Obama administration in 2009, should be freed to return to his family.
"This desperate news about Shaker’s mental and physical state comes on top of twelve years of abuse, and it’s hardly surprising to learn from an independent doctor that he is suffering severe PTSD in Guantanamo,” said Stafford Smith, the director of Reprieve, the legal pressure group.
This cannot continue, I hope that his family reach out to the press for support.
Tell me what you think xoxo