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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 10/31/15

Shaker Aamer, Known For Guantanamo Resistance, Released

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Reprinted from by Kevin Gosztola

Shaker Aamer's sons with the giant inflatable figure of Shaker Aamer outside Parliament
Shaker Aamer's sons with the giant inflatable figure of Shaker Aamer outside Parliament
(Image by We Stand With Shaker)
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Update 10/30, 3:30pm EST: Shaker Aamer praised his supporters in a statement quoted by ITV News:

I feel obliged to every individual who fought for justice not just for me but to bring an end to Guantanamo.

Without knowing of their fight I might have given up more than once; I am overwhelmed by what people have done by their actions, their thoughts and their prayers and without their devotion to justice I would not be here in Britain now.

The reality may be that we cannot establish peace but we can establish justice. If there is anything that will bring this world to peace it is to remove injustice.

After more than thirteen years of torture, abuse, and unjust detention at the Guantanamo Bay military prison, Shaker Aamer has finally been released.

A British resident and father of four children who was born in Saudi Arabia, Aamer was cleared for release in 2007, when British foreign secretary David Miliband urged the U.S. to free him along with other British detainees. He was cleared for release again by President Barack Obama's review task force in 2009.

Pressure by activists around the world and British officials increased significantly in recent years, and on January 16, British Prime Minister David Cameron was moved to mention Aamer's case to Obama.

For some time, it seemed the U.S. might send him to Saudi Arabia, where there was a risk he would be subject to a sham trial. Aamer and his lawyers actively campaigned against any decision to transfer him to any country but the U.K, where his family lives. And, last month, the U.S. government notified the British government Aamer would be released.

One of his attorneys from Reprieve, Cori Crider, reacted, "We are, of course, delighted that Shaker is on his way back to his home and his family here in the U.K. It is long, long past time. Shaker now needs to see a doctor, and then get to spend time alone with his family as soon as possible."

In 2013, Aamer declared, "The eyes of the world are the only thing that will ever get me home to my family." For the most part, he was right.

A Window Into the Brutality of Guantanamo

Aamer wrote numerous letters from Guantanamo about the prison and what he endured. The letters were the expression of a strong and resolute individual, who maintained a sharp wit and remained committed to surviving so he could see his family again one day. They also were one of the few ways for the world to know the truth of what was happening in the prison.

He described in his first letter from Guantanamo in 2003:

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Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure." He was an editor for
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