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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 104

The forgotten father of four

By S.H.Moulana - Riyadh

The Scottish comedian, Frankie Boyle, who in December donated the Stg. Pound 50,000 he won in his libel action against the British newspaper, ‘Daily Mirror’ to Shaker Aamer’s legal fund, went on hunger strike to highlight the plight of the detainee from London.

Aamer is one of dozens of inmates in Guantanamo Bay refusing food in protest over their treatment in detention. Boyle took over the fast from the human rights lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith of ‘Reprieve’, who represents Aamer.

Smith began his hunger strike over a week ago as part of ‘Reprieve’s’ ‘The Stand Fast For Justice’ campaign, which aims to promote the rule of law around the world, and secure each person’s right to a fair trial.
Shaker Aamer has been on hunger strike in Guantanamo Bay for more than 150 days. According to the ‘Stand For Justice’ website, people from around the world have promised around 1200 days hunger striking on the prisoners’ behalf.

Shaker Aamer was arrested in Afghanistan in 2001 and has been held at the prison in Guantanamo Bay, without any charge or trial. At the time of his arrest he had three children Johina (4), Michael (3) and Saif (1) and his wife was expecting his fourth child, Faris. They are now 15, 14, 12 and eleven respectively.

Faris, who was born after his father has been arrested, has not seen his father yet and the same goes to Aamer, who has never seen his son. Poor Aamer, unfortunately, fell a ‘catch’ for the bounty hunters, who were paid a sum of US $ 15,000 for each catch. Otherwise he had no connection with either Taleban or Al Qaeda and was never involved in any terrorist activities.

An emotion stricken US president, Obama, on hearing the not guilty verdict of Zimmerman said ‘Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago!’ In the meantime, I am really surprised not to see such feelings in the president about Aamer, who is almost the president’s age now and a father of four children.

Obama presides over a country that uses the words like ‘Freedom’ so liberally to wage wars all around the world and the same country that also detains people for fears even without a trial or a charge being laid, not for days, weeks or months but for 12 long years.

In another 6- years- time it will equal Charles Dickens’s quote in his famous ‘Tale of Two Cities’ ‘buried how long? Eighteen years!’- Dickens was describing those who were imprisoned during the French revolution!
I hope president Obama will live up to the promises he made about Guantanamo Bay, during his first election campaign and the pledge he made at the ceremonial signing of the document related to its closure at the Oval Office, years ago.

- Asian Tribune -

The Scottish comedian, Frankie Boyle
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