Shaker Aamer, Guantanamo: “We fast with Shaker” solidarity hunger strike begins

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Andy Worthington, “We Stand With Shaker” co-director

(Image official campaign website)

Supporters of Shaker Aamer who has been detained for 14 years in Guantanamo Bay without charge or trial begin a rolling hunger strike today Thursday 15th October in a count down to what is hoped will be his release in the near future.

On 25th September, Shaker finally received the news that his case in now in a 30 day notification period with Congress in the US and hopes and prayers are pinned on him being on a plane around 25th October to be reunited with his family in the UK.

Supporters of We Fast With Shaker are invited to a Press Launch for a publicity photo highlighting the campaign on Thursday 15th October at 1pm in Old Palace Yard, by the George V statue, opposite the Houses of Parliament in London. They are encouraged to wear something orange to symbolize the infamous jumpsuits which detainees are made to wear in “Gitmo”.

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Shaker Aamer, missed his children growing up (Image, MMC News)

Back in 2013, Michael, Shaker’s son (then age 13) wrote,

“my dad, Shaker Aamer, is in Guantanamo. It makes me so sad to know that even after trying to get him out, he is still in prison. And even though he has been cleared for release, he has been tortured.

I see my dad on skype when we speak to him. Sometimes a guard stands behind him. We have to be very careful about what we talk about—we can only talk about ourselves or the guards will stop the call.

Since I have grown up, I find it very difficult without my dad. I can feel how hard it is for my mum. I can’t imagine how my dad is coping with all the ill-treatment he has seen”

Details of Shaker’s case can be read on the following link,

“Shaker Aamer to be released: Campaigners demand accountability for his treatment during detention”

https://activist1.wordpress.com/2015/09/26/shaker-aamer-to-be-released-campaigners-demand-accountability-for-his-treatment-during-detention/

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Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, vice-chair of the Shaker Aamer Parliamentary Group

MPs from all parties, celebrities and the public are pledging a hour hunger strike in solidarity with Shaker who is on hunger strike already to protest his treatment in detention. It is hoped this initiative will keep up the pressure on President Obama to ensure he is released. Andy Worthington, a long standing activist who has written extensively on Guantanamo prisoners can be seen on the following link explaining why We Fast With Shaker is so important,

http://www.londonlive.co.uk/news/2015-10-14/londoners-go-on-hunger-strike-for-shaker-aamer

Shaker is suffering from both physical and mental health problems from years of incarceration, isolation and ill treatment. His lawyers keep him informed of outside support which helps to boost his spirits. Corrie Crider, part of Shaker’s legal team at Reprieve stated, “I just saw Shaker in Guantanamo and I told him about what all you are doing to try to encourage him to be healthy. Under the censorship rules I am not allowed to say what he said, but I AM allowed to report that he gave all of you a very big smile”.

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Maxine Peake, Actress

Campaigners will go without food for a minimum of 24 hours and stick with fluids only. Guidelines can be found on the website in the “Links” section. So far 2019 fasts have been pledged with the numbers set to grow as following the official launch. This follows on from a successful hunger strike in 2013 Stand Fast For Justice to highlight conditions for Shaker and all those in Guantanamo. Here is an account of my 7 day hunger strike for Shaker at that time,

“Guantanamo solidarity hunger strike why I gave up food for a week”

https://activist1.wordpress.com/2013/07/31/guantanamo-solidarity-hunger-strike-why-i-gave-up-food-for-a-week/

Messages of support have been left for Shaker on the campaign website which come from all over the world including UK, US, Mexico, Qatar, Bangladesh and New Zealand:-

“May your strength, deen and sabr help you overcome the trials you have and continue to endure, dear brother. Ameen. Always in our thoughts.”

A.H.H
London

“Dear Shaker,
You, your wife, and your beloved children remain on my mind and in my heart. Those of us who know your case will not let this rest until you are home with your family.
In peace…”

Diana Murtaugh Coleman
Rock Island

“I will fast to take a share of the burden from you. I will fast for a day, taking turns with others, so that you may retain whatever strength you have left. I will fast in your name, Shaker, and hope that you are soon reunited with your family.”

Helen Winters
Walsall

“Two billion plus strong we stand by you and by every individual Muslim and non-Muslim alike that have and are facing oppression in this corrupt land we live in that cries for democracy. You and your family are in our prayers and we as an Ummah tremble when one part of the body aches.”

Salehuddin Azad
Brooklyn, NY

My own message to Shaker reads,

“Brother, I stand with you in your right to hunger strike at the conditions in which you are kept at Guantanamo and pray you will soon be returned to your family after so many long years. I deplore your treatment and applaud your strength… may Allah protect you!”

Thanks from Shaker’s family

Michael Aamer, Shaker’s son stated,

“I will be fasting on the 15th for my father, and I want to thank everyone who is taking part and all your support towards getting my dad back home.”

His daughter Johina tweeted,

I am taking part in the campaign to support all the people hunger striking for my dad. Thank you all!”

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Amir Farooq, member of the public

Links

“We Fast With Shaker” website

http://www.fastforshaker.org.uk/about-the-pledge/

“Why I am fasting for Shaker” (Sara Pascoe)

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/oct/12/why-im-fasting-for-shaker-aamer-sara-pascoe

“Celebs join hunger strike for Shaker Aamer”

http://news.sky.com/story/1567760/celebs-join-hunger-strike-for-shaker-aamer

Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights/WOT and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad. She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.

About Carol Anne Grayson

Blogging for Humanity.... Campaigner/researcher global health/human rights/drones/WOT/insurgency http://www.esrc.ac.uk/ESRCInfoCentre/PO/experts/Health_and_Wellbeing.aspx Exec Producer of Oscar nominated documentary Incident in New Baghdad, currently filming on drones.
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2 Responses to Shaker Aamer, Guantanamo: “We fast with Shaker” solidarity hunger strike begins

  1. marionheads says:

    I also fast for Shaker today Carol. Let us hope that he will soon be home. My thoughts are with him, his family and all the other men still held at Guantanamo.

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