Shaker Aamer was one of the first to be locked up in Guantanamo Bay and is now the last remaining Briton in the American-run detention centre. Shaker Aamer has now been held there for eleven years, despite being cleared for release. Many of his family live in South West London, including Tooting.
Since becoming an MP, Sadiq has long campaigned on behalf of Shaker Aamer and his family for his safe return home to the UK and for the closure of Guantanamo Bay. Sadiq has lobbied both the Foreign Office and the Prime Minister on many occasions and attended demonstrations outside parliament.
In April 2013, a petition calling for Shaker Aamer’s safe return to the UK received more than 117,000 signatures. As a result the issue was debated in Westminster Hall today.
Sadiq has long campaigned against Guantanamo Bay and attended the debate to show his support for Mr Aamer and his family.
In the debate, MPs asked important questions about what the UK Government is doing to investigate the treatment of Shaker Aamer, and to ensure that he continues to have access to legal advice.
Questions were put to Alistair Burt, a Foreign Office Minister, regarding the UK’s efforts to secure Shaker’s release, however he was unable to answer questions as to why the US Government have kept Mr Aamer in detention for 11 years without charge.
Sadiq Khan MP said,
“After campaigning for Shaker Aamer’s safe return home for many years, I was pleased that the issue was granted a parliamentary debate earlier this month.
“Whilst I would like to have seen a debate in the main chamber of the House of Commons, this debate in Westminster Hall was still a good opportunity to raise awareness of the case and provided an important opportunity for MPs to put on record their feelings about the way this case has been handled by both the British and American governments.
“The debate was a rare opportunity for MPs to ask important questions of the UK Government regarding Shaker Aamer’s continued detention, but I was disappointed that the Minister could not explain why the US Government had held Shaker in Guantanamo for 11 years without charge, or why he is not being transferred or released to the UK. There can be no justification for him to be held for such a long time without charge. We are all worried about his health as the hunger strike continues and serious allegations are made about ill treatment.
“I hope that today’s debate puts Shaker Aamer’s continued detainment securely on the Government’s agenda and forces them to be more aggressive in bringing him back to the UK. There's just no reason why he should still be there.
“I will continue to campaign for Shaker Aamer’s release for as long as it takes”.