Comment: I’m so glad that Aamer is going to be released soon; he’s been treated terribly. I truly hope and pray that he can build a new life for him and his family, though no doubt, it will take many years.
The post 9/11 world was just a few days old when Shaker Aamer was first imprisoned. Captured by Afghan bounty hunters while attempting to flee from Kabul with his pregnant wife and their three children, he was sold on twice, and found himself in US hands.
By the end of the year he was being held at the notorious interrogation centre that American forces and the CIA had established at the Soviet-era airfield at Bagram, north of the capital.
Whatever happened there may explain why Aamer has languished for so long at Guantánamo, remaining behind bars long after every other British national and resident had been set free.
The interrogators that MI6 and MI5 had sent to Bagram were warned that they must not take part in the torture that was being inflicted on the inmates; all received written instructions that “we cannot be party to such ill treatment nor can we be seen to condone it”. In practice, this meant that they would remove themselves from the room before the abuses began.
After being transferred to Guantánamo, Aamer gave a statement to his lawyers in which he alleged that, despite these instructions, British intelligence officers were present while he was being severely beaten at Bagram. As a consequence of this – and because of the UK’s wider involvement in his unlawful detention and mistreatment – he is expected to embark upon legal proceedings against the British government once he returns to the UK.