Former MI6 officer joins hunger strike to free Guantanamo detainee

30th Aug 2013

Ex MI6 officer joins hunger strike to free Guantanamo detainee

[Ex MI6 officer Harry Ferguson joins hunger strike in support of Shaker Aamer]


By Zayn Rajan


Ex-MI6 officer Harry Ferguson commenced a week-long hunger strike on August 12 in support of Shaker Aamer – the last British resident prisoner held at the US Guantanamo Bay detention camp.


Ferguson says the decision was provoked by “disgrace” at the conduct of the British Intelligence service which he “once proudly” represented.


Ferguson is attempting a week of fasting with the aim of accentuating the high profile case of Aamer, who himself has refused food for over 170 days. The move follows successfully completed hunger strikes by renowned British showbiz stars including actor Julie Christie and comedian Frankie Boyle.


However, Ferguson attacked his former employers when questioned about his motivation for the hunger strike.


“The organisation which I was once proud to be a member now supports policies including assassination, rendition, torture and detention without trial,” said Ferguson.


Recent shocking reports that British intelligence officers had been stealthily campaigning against Aamer’s repatriation, in an attempt to prevent the revealing of their presence whilst he was tortured, proved to be the trigger for Ferguson’s hunger strike.


He went on to reveal: “In fact [the legal charity] Reprieve has recently uncovered evidence that MI6 is directly briefing against his return to this country because once he arrives here he will reveal that MI6 officers were present whilst he was being tortured.”


Aamer’s hunger strike began in March this year and he is reported to be joined in his fasting by approximately three-quarters of the 166 men who are currently being held at the US detention centre.


Furthermore, over 110,000 people signed an online petition in a passionate protest to try and enforce his immediate return to the UK.


Shaker Aamer was raised in Saudi Arabia but is a permanent UK resident having married a British national subsequent to his arrest in Afghanistan on November 24, 2001.


Detained, and according to some sources tortured, Aamer has yet to be charged with any infringement of the law neither has he been given a trial or any opportunity to proclaim his innocence.

Aamer has twice been cleared for release by two American presidents – George W Bush in 2007 as well as Barack Obama in 2009.


Moreover, no less than six major, trusted intelligence agencies, including the CIA and FBI, were united in the belief that he posed no security hazard whatsoever to the US or any of its allies, including the UK.


Aamer’s lawyer, Clive Stafford-Smith, who too fasted in solidarity with his client emphasised the significance of Ferguson’s stance.


“It is a big deal that someone who is so linked in with MI6 is willing to make such a strong statement,” he told reporters.


Aamer activists are perplexed and angered as to why Britain has decided against enforcing UN law on the US, which dictates that the refusal to return Aamer to London as a prime witness of a Scotland Yard investigation would be a violation of international rules.


Tooting MP, Sadiq Khan, has joined campaigners in demanding the Foreign Secretary to take immediate action.


“I remain extremely concerned for Mr Aamer’s welfare whilst he remains detained in Guantanamo Bay. These latest reports which come from him personally suggest that he is being mistreated on a daily basis.


“I hope that the Foreign Secretary will take these allegations of mistreatment seriously and bring Mr Aamer’s case to the forefront of the United States Government’s mind so that we can begin to seek an end to his incarceration.


“We must remember that Mr Aamer has remained in prison, away from his family, for 11 years – and all the while never being charged with an offence, let alone being allowed his day in court.”

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