Inside News - FRFI 248 Dec 2015/Jan 2016

Shaker Aamer – free at last

On 30 October Shaker Aamer, a British resident held without charge at the US concentration camp in Guantanamo for nearly 14 years was finally released. Shaker Aamer is a Saudi citizen who had lived since 1996 in London and whose wife is British. He was captured by bounty hunters in Afghanistan and handed over to US forces in December 2001, before being taken to Guantanamo Bay two months later. He has never been charged with any offence and was cleared for release in 2007. During his incarceration, Aamer suffered extensive ill-treatment at the hands of his captors, with the full knowledge of British officials. A psychiatric report in December 2013 concluded he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety, and experiencing hallucinations as a consequence of years of isolation and inhumane treatment. He now intends to sue the British government over its complicity in his mistreatment. The RCG, which has supported the campaign for his release over many years, welcomes Shaker Aamer’s release. Now we must demand: Close down Guantanamo! Free all the detainees!


All charges against Kevan Thakrar dropped

FRFI readers who have followed the saga of Kevan Thakrar, who has spent more than two years fighting against a charge of assaulting a prison officer at HMP Manchester, will be pleased to hear that the charge has finally been dismissed. Kevan was originally charged in August 2013 and in March 2014 the CPS then accepted a defence submission that it was not in the public interest to proceed (presumably as Kevan was already serving a life sentence). Backed by the POA, the officer judicially reviewed this decision and succeeded in getting the charge reinstated, only to have it – and a further spurious charge of ‘interfering with a witness’ once again withdrawn, this time by the prosecution itself, presumably when it finally became apparent there was no actual evidence to support the charge.


Hands off John Bowden!

On 17 November, Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! supporters attended Greenock Sheriff Court for the trial of John Bowden. They had their bags searched, which is not usual procedure in that court and were told by police in the court to stay ‘peaceful’.

John has been a regular writer and organiser for prisoners’ rights for over 30 years. This has included writing for FRFI and other progressive publications. After serving a life sentence, John is being victimised by the English and Scottish prison authorities for his stand. They are trying to crush his spirit by refusing him any opportunity for release through sustained harassment. After repeated assaults by screws, John now finds himself in court facing assault charges for defending himself against brutality by prison staff. John asks for your support recognising that the struggle of prisoners has a key role to play in the struggle of the whole working class for social justice and against criminalisation.

The trial was adjourned until 11 March 2016. FRFI will be organising continued solidarity with John and for a protest outside the court at the trial. You can write to John Bowden #6279, HMP Barlinnie, 81 Lee Avenue, Glasgow G33 2QX

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 248 December 2015/January 2016

 

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