Thirteen Years: that is a long time

Totalitarian regimes brook not dissent, ever. Democratically elected regimes also brook no dissent, but have to find ways do quashing dissent without appearing to infringe the rights of the dissenters. Shaker Aamer is a dissenter, it would seem, but I cannot say that he is, because his views have never been given a platform.

He is a citizen of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia who enjoys the (theoretical at present) right of residence in United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. He has been imprisoned by the United States government at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba for thirteen years. No charges have been levied against him. He has faced no trial. The presumption of innocence does not apply in Guantanamo Bay prison; the only presumption that the prisoners there can enjoy is the presumption of guilt.

Presidents Bush and Obama have called for his release, but apparently did not have the power to secure his release. Mr Cameron and Mr Brown have called for his release, but apparently there is someone involved in Guantanamo who has the power to refuse release of prisoners which power trumps the power of Presidents and Prime Ministers to order their release.

Tony Blair, thought that Mr Aamer deserved to be in Guantanamo prison. It is odd, isn’t it, how a man who has been responsible for an illegal war thought it just to imprison a man without trial and without charge on suspicion of being somehow involved in supporting the enemy in Afghanistan. It is odd, also, how such luminaries as Jack Straw, man of fighting talk and spirit when dealing with some right wing dictators who oppressed people, shrivelled into a vacuous puppet when faced with American resolve to render British citizens thus oppressing them.

Mr Aamer has been imprisoned for thirteen years, thirteen years, thirteen years; that is a long time.

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