Last British Guantanamo prisoner pens powerful letter on twelfth anniversary of detention

Shaker Aamer, cleared for release seven years ago writes: 'I feel lonely and lost. Not knowing my future is the worst torture. I am living just to die…Dead people are better off than us.'

Tomas Jivanda
Friday 14 February 2014 21:24
Shaker Aamer was sent to Guantánamo Bay in 2002, and cleared to leave in 2007.
Shaker Aamer was sent to Guantánamo Bay in 2002, and cleared to leave in 2007.

The last remaining British prisoner held in Guantanamo Bay has penned a powerful letter to mark Valentine’s Day – the twelfth anniversary of his detention.

Shaker Aamer has been held without charge or trial since his arrest in Afghanistan in November 2001 .

He was transferred to Guantanamo Bay on 14 February 2002 where has been held since – despite being cleared for release by the Bush administration in 2007 and again by the Obama administration in 2009.

“It's 14 February. In Britain it will be Valentine's Day. In 2002, it was the day I arrived in Guantanamo Bay, and the day my youngest child was born - Faris, whom I have never been allowed to touch,” opens his letter, published as a blog on the Huffington Post via his lawyer.

Conveying the desperation felt by prisoners at the US military run camp in Cuba, he wrote: “How do I feel with another year of my life gone unjustly and another year started? Truly, I feel numb. I can't even think about it.

“Years are passing like months and months like weeks. Weeks pass like days and days like hours. Hours feel like minutes, minutes seconds, and seconds pass like years. And it goes around in a strange circle that makes no sense. It all takes an age, and yet an age of my life seems to pass too fast. On and on and on.

Shaker Aamer with two of his children before his arrest

Mr Aamer, who is currently on hunger strike, added: “I feel lonely and lost. Not knowing my future is the worst torture. I am living just to die. I am confused about everything and everyone. It is not enough for them to leave us alone with all this pain we are suffering. It is not enough for us to live only with our memories, which bring more pain.

“Dead people are better off than us. They are living a new way of life, knowing that they are dead and facing the consequences of their past actions.

“But our suffering is endless - and with it, our loved ones' suffering is endless. We are not dead but they forget us after a while, because they cannot see us or feel us and know how we truly are.”

He also captured some of the alleged mistreatment and humiliation the 160 current inmates suffer in the prison. He describes how ‘the National Anthem is playing so loudly’ at his time of writing and how a fellow inmate consistently misses his legal call because of the full body search he is threated with by the guards.

“He tells them that he refuses the humiliation, and demands to go back to his cell,” Mr Aamer claims, adding: “Indeed, the authorities don't want someone like Emad [Hassan] to let the world know what has happened to him.”

“Yet still they do more harm to us: humiliating and insulting us, degrading us, anything to make us more miserable,” he alleges.

“Welcome to the Hell on Earth, welcome to Guantanamo. Welcome to the year 1984, the year 2014.”

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