An inmate at Guantanamo Bay prison has embarked on a Twitter campaign through his lawyer for the closure of the facility where he has been kept for 11 years, despite being cleared for release.
The tweeting inmate is Shaker Aamer, a Saudi citizen and a legal
resident of the UK. Unable to go online himself, he is delivering
his message to Twitter through his lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith,
who is also founder of legal group Reprieve.
The May 20 tweet urging people to call the US Embassy in the UK and demand the closure of Gitmo has already been retweeted more than 300 times.
Unclassified (please retweet): Shaker Aamer would like everyone to call US Embassy 020 7499-9000 to demand action on Guantanamo Bay— Clive Stafford Smith (@CliveSSmith) May 20, 2013
Smith said that although he is doing the tweeting, it was Aamer’s idea, despite the fact that he was imprisoned four years before Twitter even existed. "
He really does know about Twitter and all the social media, as I have sent him copies of what people have said and done for him to keep his spirits up ," Wired quoted Smith as saying.
Twitter users who called the embassy shared their experience online:
@clivessmith Think they are getting wise to what's happening. The embassy just cut me off. Such democratic souls.— Keith Brindle (@BrindleKeith) May 20, 2013
@clivessmith I just did that I and got a lots of bullshit back, as to how Mr president has been trying to shut gitmo down, demcratically!!— Shaheen Malik (@Sheenamal01) May 20, 2013
Aamer is one of 86 Guantanamo detainees cleared for release. He is also one of the inmates on hunger strike for the facility’s closure. The number of those on strike is 103 according to prison officials, and more than 130 according to the prisoners’ lawyers.
One-third of the striking inmates are being force-fed, including Aamer. The practice has been deemed torture and a breach of international law by the UN human rights office.
“There’s only one way to end this strike fairly, and that’s
to take prisoners who’ve been cleared for release and set them
free. And Shaker Aamer, the last British resident, he could come
back to London tomorrow if only President Obama would show him
redemption and use the National Defense Authorization Act to let
people go free. That’s the only way to solve this problem,”
Smith told RT.
Aamer has been held without charge since 2002, despite having been cleared for release six years ago along with the other 85 detainees. The Reprieve website said he “has been repeatedly abused and subjected to extended isolation in Guantánamo Bay.” Aamer joined the hunger strike on February 15. His lawyer is concerned with his deteriorating health, saying his client has long passed the point where he risks “irreversible cognitive impairment.”