Important Announcement

See here for an important message regarding the community which has become a read-only site as of October 31.

 
Post Reply
Switch to Forum Live View Gitmo Inmate Released to UK
1 year ago  ::  Oct 30, 2015 - 3:43PM #1
Merope
Posts: 14,591

A suspected al-Qaeda member who became a cause célèbre among human rights groups and British lawmakers returned home Friday after being held more than 13 years at the Gitmo.


Shaker Aamer — who was first cleared for release in 2007 — left US territory on a plane chartered by the British government and touched down at London’s Biggin Hill airport just before 1 PM local time.  British broadcasters covered the landing.


A spokeswoman for British Prime Minister David Cameron said Cameron “welcomes his release and that people should be reassured that everything necessary to ensure public safety — those measures have been put in place.”


The spokeswoman added that there are no plans to detain Aamer, 46, who is a former British resident and a Saudi national whose family lives in London.  His wife and children are British.


Congress was notified in late September that the Pentagon planned to transfer Aamer — the last Gitmo detainee who was a British citizen or former resident — to the UK.


“It’s wonderful news that Shaker is finally coming home and will be reunited with his family or in the case of his youngest child, seeing him for the first time.  But it draws attention to how appalling it is he has been detained without trial for 14 years,” said Andy Slaughter, a Labour Party lawmaker who was part of the cross-party delegation that visited Washington to raise the case.


www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-se...

Merope | Beliefnet Community Manager
Problems? Send a message to Beliefnet_community
Quick Reply
Cancel
1 year ago  ::  Oct 30, 2015 - 3:50PM #2
Merope
Posts: 14,591

Born in Medina, Saudi Arabia, in 1966, Aamer attended college in Jiddah and trained to be a nurse at a military hospital.  He lived briefly in Atlanta in 1989 before moving to Gaithersburg, Maryland.  After the Persian Gulf War began in 1990, he got a job as a translator for the US military in Saudi Arabia, according to military files.


The British government had agreed to accept Aamer years ago, but not without reservations.  An official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because details of the discussions remain secret, said elements of the British government, including the country’s counterterrorism officials, were reluctant to take Aamer.


On the American side, US officials were equally concerned about the activities of former Gitmo detainees living in Britain, including Moazzam Begg, who was released in 2005.  Begg, who traveled to Syria in 2012, was later charged with attending a terrorist camp there.  The charges were eventually dropped in 2014.  Begg denied any wrongdoing, and his lawyer said he had informed the British authorities in advance about his travel plans, including to Syria.


A US official said the British authorities will continue to monitor Aamer.  “They asked for him and now they got him,” the US official said.  “They’ll do what they need to do to watch him.”

Merope | Beliefnet Community Manager
Problems? Send a message to Beliefnet_community
Quick Reply
Cancel
1 year ago  ::  Oct 30, 2015 - 3:57PM #3
Merope
Posts: 14,591

Aamer was captured in Afghanistan in 2001 and brought to Gitmo in February 2002.  He was suspected of being a “close associate of Osama bin Laden” who fought in the battle of Tora Bora, according to US military files disclosed by WikiLeaks.


His support in Britain has centered on claims he faced abuses in custody and complaints that he was held without formal charges filed.  Aamer has asserted he was in Afghanistan to help with humanitarian projects.


In a statement issued through his lawyers, Aamer praised his supporters for their campaign to secure his release and for their efforts to “bring an end to Guantanamo.”  “Without knowing of their fight I might have given up more than once,” he said in the statement, adding, “without their devotion to justice I would not be here in Britain now.”


Dominic Grieve, chair of Parliament’s intelligence and security committee, told Sky News that Aamer’s incarceration hurt America’s global image.  “It’s quite clear that the circumstances in which he was detained for this long period in Guantanamo were a serious error by the United states of America and one that has done the United States reputation on issues of human rights a great deal of damage,” he said.


Cori Crider, an attorney with Reprieve, a human rights organization, said the group was “delighted” that Shaker was freed.  “It is long, long past time,” Crider said.  “Shaker now needs to see a doctor, and then get to spend time alone with his family as soon as possible.”


Aamer was considered a leader among the detainees at the prison and was seen by Pentagon officials as someone who encouraged hunger strikes and other forms of protest.  Former and current US law enforcement and intelligence officials also said he was suspected of playing a role in the suicides of three Yemeni detainees in 2006.  But one of Aamer’s lawyers said his client denies any involvement, pointing out he was in solitary confinement both before and after the suicides happened.


His lawyer said Aamer was unable to communicate with other inmates, although US military officials said prisoners were able to pass messages no matter where they were held. 


“I was and am opposed to any suicide.  Then and now. I had no hand in it whatsoever,” Aamer said, according to a statement released through his lawyer, Ramzi Kassem, a law professor at the City University of New York.

Merope | Beliefnet Community Manager
Problems? Send a message to Beliefnet_community
Quick Reply
Cancel
1 year ago  ::  Oct 30, 2015 - 4:01PM #4
Merope
Posts: 14,591

On Wednesday, the Pentagon repatriated a Mauritanian detainee.


A total of 112 detainees remain at the prison with 52 cleared for release as the Obama administration tries to fulfill the president’s goal of accelerating transfers in order to close the prison before he leaves office.

Merope | Beliefnet Community Manager
Problems? Send a message to Beliefnet_community
Quick Reply
Cancel
1 year ago  ::  Oct 30, 2015 - 4:46PM #5
TPaine
Posts: 10,308

I'm sure Fox Noise and the Regressive talking heads will be whining that Kenyan, Muslim, liberal, left-wing, pinko, pansy, one world, egg-headed, bleeding-heart, commie, bed-wetter is releasing terrorists so they can come back and take over America and make it a Muslim theocracy that will kill all the Christians.


However,


UN says US violating international law, calls for closure of Guantanamo




GENEVA -- The UN human rights chief called on the United States on Friday to close down the Guantanamo Bay prison camp, saying the indefinite imprisonment of many detainees without charge or trial violated international law.


Navi Pillay said the hunger strike being staged by some inmates at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in southeastern Cuba was a "desperate act" but "scarcely surprising."


"We must be clear about this: The United States is in clear breach not just of its own commitments but also of international laws and standards that it is obliged to uphold," the UN high commissioner for human rights said in a statement.


About half of the 166 detainees there have been cleared for transfer either to home countries or third countries for resettlement, Pillay said. "As a first step, those who have been cleared for release must be released," she said.


"Others reportedly have been designated for further indefinite detention. Some of them have been festering in this detention center for more than a decade," she said.


Of the 166 detainees, only nine have been charged with or convicted of crimes.


Forty inmates are currently staging a hunger strike to protest against their indefinite detention, according to a U.S. military spokesman at Guantanamo. Some have lost so much weight that they are being force-fed liquid nutrients. Link


Is the United States somehow exempt from following treaties they signed and international law?





"To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the dead, or endeavoring to convert an atheist by scripture."-- Thomas Paine: The Crisis No. V (March 21, 1778)
Quick Reply
Cancel
1 year ago  ::  Oct 30, 2015 - 5:32PM #6
Merope
Posts: 14,591

I've felt the US was violating international law from the get-go with Gitmo.  As an American, I have felt great shame for my country over that concentration camp and its torture.

Merope | Beliefnet Community Manager
Problems? Send a message to Beliefnet_community
Quick Reply
Cancel
1 year ago  ::  Oct 30, 2015 - 5:44PM #7
TPaine
Posts: 10,308

Oct 30, 2015 -- 5:32PM, Merope wrote:


I've felt the US was violating international law from the get-go with Gitmo.  As an American, I have felt great shame for my country over that concentration camp and its torture.



Will we be seeing you on Religious Forums or a site like it after the 31st? I'm sure most of the people here, myself included, don't want to lose your exceptional input.


Peace, my friend.

"To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the dead, or endeavoring to convert an atheist by scripture."-- Thomas Paine: The Crisis No. V (March 21, 1778)
Quick Reply
Cancel
1 year ago  ::  Oct 30, 2015 - 6:55PM #8
mountain_man
Posts: 44,029

Oct 30, 2015 -- 3:57PM, Merope wrote:

Aamer was captured in Afghanistan in 2001 and brought to Gitmo in February 2002.  He was suspected of being a “close associate of Osama bin Laden” who fought in the battle of Tora Bora, according to US military files disclosed by WikiLeaks.....


It goes against all that the USA stands for to imprison someone, ANYONE, based on suspicions. This should be on the long list of W's crimes against humanity.

Dave - Just a Man in the Mountains.

There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.   Isaac Asimov
Quick Reply
Cancel
1 year ago  ::  Oct 30, 2015 - 10:56PM #9
Beliefnet_community
Posts: 626

Oct 30, 2015 -- 5:44PM, TPaine wrote:


Oct 30, 2015 -- 5:32PM, Merope wrote:


I've felt the US was violating international law from the get-go with Gitmo.  As an American, I have felt great shame for my country over that concentration camp and its torture.



Will we be seeing you on Religious Forums or a site like it after the 31st? I'm sure most of the people here, myself included, don't want to lose your exceptional input.


Peace, my friend.



Peace out, my dear, and thank you for your kind words.


Yes, I'm going to check out Religious Forums ... after a break to wind down.  I'm on Facebook, and I have an old, long-unused account at Ship of Fools. 

We are listening! Problems, complaints, other issues? Send us a message at Beliefnet_community.
Quick Reply
Cancel
 
    Viewing this thread :: 0 registered and 1 guest
    No registered users viewing
    Advertisement

    Beliefnet On Facebook