Back in the saddle after an Internet-free winter vacation.

First, two great music videos (hat-tip to the Tea Party Economist for the piano guys link)

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VqTwnAuHws’]

And an oldie but goodie – Matt Harding’s 2008 Dancing video with “Praan” sung by Palbasha Saddique (just 17 at the time):[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlfKdbWwruY’]

And as you’re now no doubt feeling warm and fuzzy, spare a thought for Shaker, a British national still imprisoned after 11 years, despite Obama’s promise to close the place within a year (that was 5 years ago, folks, but hey! Who’s counting?!) Click on the image or on the “Take Action” button at the end of this post to sign Amnesty International’s petition.

Shaker

Former UK resident Shaker Aamer was arrested in Afghanistan in November 2001. He has never been charged, tried or convicted of any crime. His explanation that he was working for a charity at the time of his arrest has never been disproved. The UK authorities have repeatedly asked for him to be returned to the UK where his wife and four children live.

Yet he remains at Guantánamo. Sign our petition: bring Shaker home

‘I am dying here every day, mentally and physically… We have been ignored, locked up in the middle of the ocean…’
Shaker Aamer, November 2005

Being held for 11 years on the other side of the world from your family, not knowing if or when you will be released or given a chance to argue your case in court is bad enough, but there’s more.

Shaker alleges he has been tortured both in Guantánamo and before that at Bagram, Afghanistan where during an interrogation he says his head was ‘repeatedly banged so hard against a wall it bounced’.

Much of his time at Guantanamo has been spent in solitary confinement. Punishment, his lawyers believe, for protesting against camp conditions and speaking out on behalf of other inmates.

While Shaker remains defiant, his physical and mental health is failing. He suffers from multiple illnesses including diabetes and arthritis, which lawyers say have been aggravated by inadequate medical care and alleged abuse.

Call on Obama to end Shaker’s ordeal and return him to the UK

Fresh from re-election, President Obama has plenty of new promises to fulfil, but he must also remember the old ones. Such as the commitment he made in January 2009 to resolve the cases of all Guantanamo inmates ‘as promptly as possible’ and close the detention centre within a year.

That deadline has come and gone so we want to give him another date to think about. We’re planning to hand in our petition to Obama on 14 February 2013, the 11th anniversary of Shaker’s personal Guantánamo ordeal.

We need to gather at least 20,000 signatures by then to show that we haven’t forgotten Shaker, we haven’t forgotten Guantánamo and we haven’t forgotten Obama’s promise to close the camp so inmates like Shaker can finally see justice and go home.

Sign our petition: close Guantanamo and bring Shaker home

Thank you,

Amy Summers
Individuals at Risk Campaigner
Take Action: Bring Shaker home
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