The Rt Hon David Cameron. MP
10 Downing Street
19 April 2013
My name is Johina Aamer, and I am the daughter of the last British resident in Guantanamo Bay, Shaker Aamer. To be honest, it is a little tiring writing that introduction…as the fact that I need to introduce myself, highlights the extent to which I feel my family and I have been betrayed by our own country for the last 11 years.
I had just turned four when my family was deprived of a father and husband. He has been in Guantanamo Bay for more than 11 years while the British government allowed him to be tortured, causing both physical and mental scars. His petition has now surpassed the 100,000 signatures mark meaning his case will now be discussed in parliament next week, on Wednesday 24th April 2013. I question, however, whether this parliamentary discussion will be enough to bring my father home - if you felt the compassion that the signatories feel for my father, you would not have allowed him to remain in Guantanamo Bay for this long.
Like the public you are most likely to be knowledgeable of the fact that my father has been cleared for release many times in the past, which leads me to question why is he still in prison? I am also wondering how many times it will take for me to say "My name is Johina Aamer, I am 15 years old and my dad is in prison" until someone from the government takes our plight seriously, and actually does something to help? My father is now one of the many Guantanamo detainees who are on hunger strike: exhausted by our government's neglect of his situation, he is starving himself out of protest. My father has been on hunger strike many times in the past but now his lawyer has attested to the fact he is genuinely frightened for his survival this time. Do you have any concept of what it is like for me, my brothers and my mother to hear this news?
I am writing to you to ask - please explain to me what you have been doing to secure my father’s release? I previously wrote to the former Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, but he did not consider my family’s difficult situation important enough to reply – I hope that you will not be so inconsiderate.
Although I am young, I have come to understand that maybe you are delaying my father’s return due to the Justice and Security Bill I keep on reading about. I would like to say that I would want to add my name to all those who have opposed this bill, including the 702 lawyers who have signed the petition in opposition to it. The reason for this is that my family has felt the impact of secret evidence more than most – we have a personal experience of how damaging it can be to be left in the dark about allegations and not to have the opportunity to defend yourself.
The closed material procedure is fundamentally immoral and takes away yet another basic human right. I know that the British Government is using this law to escape anything in court that may cause humiliation. However adopting the bill will just cause a greater state of shame in addition to giving the government a bad reputation for not being able to confess to their involvement in torture.
I see the injustice of the Justice and Security Bill on my father’s release. I clearly recognise that the British government is not willing to take any action until the law gets passed because my father’s return to Britain will cause additional disgrace upon the British government, especially after the case of Binyam Mohamed. This is also been shown by how fast the government have rushed the bill through parliament. Even though it is wrong and instead of finding ways to stop the country’s involvement in human rights abuses, it is supporting torture and rendition by allowing it to be covered up.
If the Justice and Security Bill is an imperative for my father's release, then I strongly suggest that you continue your inaction against him. My father would not under any condition buy his freedom at the price of injustice.
While I am not confident that you will, if you conclude that you are willing to write back, then I would like the answers to my questions and for you to allow me to acquire your exact accomplishments that are beneficial to my father’s case.
15 years old
The daughter of Shaker Aamer