Guantanamo Bay prisoner seeks truth over detention

Shaker Aamer was released from Guantanamo Bay after 14 years. Picture: PA
Shaker Aamer was released from Guantanamo Bay after 14 years. Picture: PA
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Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Shaker Aamer has embarked on a campaign for the truth to come out about his 14 years in the notorious military prison and continued to point the finger at British authorities for their alleged complicity.

In a series of interviews since his release in late October, the last British prisoner to be held at the facility has increasingly opened up about his brutal treatment at Guantanamo Bay, at one point likening it to Azkaban, the prison in the Harry Potter novels.

He said it is a place where “the Geneva Convention does not exist”.

He told ITV News: “Everything that happened to us is a war crime in Guantanamo.

“Everything that is happening right now is a war crime in Guantanamo.”

The human body can adapt to the physical pain of torture, Mr Aamer said, but Guantanamo Bay was a place designed by psychologists to “destroy a human being totally”.

He said he was forced to drink sewage water during a prolonged hunger strike and there was “no limit” to the interrogation techniques used. This included threats to rape his daughter, he told the BBC.

Mr Aamer said: “That was completely inhumane.

“It was worse than the beating as well, worse than everything, just thinking of my daughter… and I just sat there, silent completely.

“And [for] three, four days I didn’t say a word.”

Speaking about what should happen next as he adjusts to life back in London and gets to know his four children again, Mr Aamer’s focus was squarely on “the truth”.

He said: “The only thing I really would like to happen is for Tony Blair and for whoever in the government at that time, is to tell the truth, just like I’m telling the truth to the world.”

Mr Aamer said that he was 90 per cent certain an English intelligence officer was present during some of his interrogations.

That man, known only as John, did not take part in the violence but made no attempt to stop it, he said.

Mr Blair “definitely” knew what was happening in Bagram, he alleged, adding: “They know, all of them, they know what they were doing.”

He added: “If these guys [at] the head of the state, they don’t know, who’s supposed to know?”

A spokeswoman for Mr Blair has said he “never condoned” the use of torture.

Mr Aamer, who had allegations of involvement in the Taleban against him dropped in 2007 but was still held in detention, said Guantanamo Bay must be closed.

In his ITV interview, he made a direct appeal to US president Barack Obama, saying such a move would render him a “hero”.