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Twelve years of shameful torture

Protest marks grim Guantanamo birthday and calls for Aamer release

This weekend marked another shameful anniversary in the history of Guantanamo Bay and the ongoing incarceration without trial of British detainee Shaker Aamer.

January 11 marked 12 years since the US gulag opened its doors.

And despite repeated pledges by the Obama administration that the camp would close, 155 men continue to languish there in appalling conditions.

Mr Aamer was one of the first detainees to be transferred to Guantanamo having previously suffered abuse and torture at the US-run Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan.

Despite having twice been cleared for release he continues to be held without charge or trial.

Mr Aamer is one of around 30 detainees currently engaged in a long running hunger strike in protest against their treatment.

In a statement Mr Aamer said: "It will soon be 12 years that I have been in Guantanamo.

"I arrived on the day my youngest child Faris was born. Even then, I had already spent some two months in US captivity, undergoing terrible mistreatment. Those are 12 years that are lost to me forever.

"What I have missed most has been the opportunity to do my part to fill up my four children's reservoir of love.

"The early years of a child's life is a parent's best chance to show them what love is, before they become more distant with approaching adulthood. Losing this, my opportunity and obligation, is my greatest regret."

Clive Stafford Smith of legal charity Reprieve, who represents Mr Aamer, said: "Guantanamo is not a unique mistake - Britain had its own offshore law-free island prison in the civil war.

"It was wrong then, and was declared illegal in the Habeas Corpus Act of 1679. The US merely repeated the mistake.

"With Guantanamo, 12 years is 12 years too long. More men have committed suicide than have been put on trial. Half of the prisoners have been cleared for years, like my client."

Over 100 people rallied in London on Saturday demanding the closure of Guantanamo and Mr Aamer's release.

Joy Hurcombe of the Save Shaker Aamer Campaign told the Star: "President Obama must end this terrible chapter of shame. Shaker Aamer has lost 14lbs in a week. He must be returned to the UK before his health deteriorates beyond recovery."

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