The original e-petition to the British government calling for the return of Shaker Aamer to the UK from Guantánamo, which was launched on February 14, has now been replaced with a new e-petition, because of Shaker’s family’s belief that it was not possible to secure 100,000 signatures by the time the three-month deadline would have expired on May 14.
Also please note that the original redirect — www.freeshaker.com — which was used in much of the publicity, redirects to the new petition, and the organisers encourage its use as a memorable short URL.
The new e-petition is identical in its wording, but has a deadline of a year. Still entitled, “Return Shaker Aamer to the UK,” it states, as the previous petition did:
Shaker Aamer is a British resident with a British wife and children who has been imprisoned without trial by the US in Bagram Airforce Base and Guantánamo Bay for over ten years. The Foreign Secretary and the Foreign Office must undertake urgent new initiatives to achieve the immediate transfer of Shaker Aamer to the UK from continuing indefinite detention in Guantánamo Bay.
Campaigners now have until April 20, 2013 to secure 100,000 signatures and make Shaker’s ongoing, ten-year detention without charge or trial (despite him being cleared for release five years ago) eligible for a Parliamentary debate.
The organisers would like to apologise for any inconvenience, and while the decision to relaunch the petition is somewhat inconvenient for those who have been working hard collecting signatures for the last two months, the truth is that, despite everyone’s best efforts, we would not have managed to secure 100,000 signatures by the deadline.
When the first e-petition closed, it had 8,871 signatures — although many more were on paper petitions, collected by volunteers, and were waiting to be input. I’m glad to report, however, that the new e-petition already has over 1,400 signatures, which is 15 percent of the original number of signatures, in just four days.
So please, if you signed the first version, and have not signed this updated version, please do so, and then let all your friends and family members know. It will only take a few minutes of your time.
Also feel free to use the image above on your website, or as your profile photo on Facebook, or wherever else you can find a good use for it. It was designed by Josh King-Farlow, who also designed the website for the “Close Guantánamo” campaign, one of the supporters of the campaign to free Shaker Aamer, along with Reprieve, Cageprisoners, the London Guantánamo Campaign and the Save Shaker Aamer Campaign.
If you would like to collect signatures for the petition, please print off copies of the paper petition available here (and other resources are here). These can then be sent to the Save Shaker Aamer Campaign for inputting (email for address or phone 07756 493877). Please be advised that, when collecting signatures, you should let signatories know that they will be required to respond when they receive an email asking them to validate their signatures.