Guantanamo Prisoner Shaker Aamer Addresses Why Certain Books Are Banned at the Facility
It has been almost twelve years since British citizen Shaker Aamer was brought to Guantanamo Bay and imprisoned. He has been held without charge or trial, cleared for release twice, suffered torture during his confinement and been subjected to isolation for leading prisoners in challenging conditions at the detention camps. He has been a prominent participant in hunger strikes at Guantanamo as well.
Last week, Aamer’s attorney and Reprieve director, Clive Stafford Smith, released a list of books (although incomplete) of books that have been banned by officers running the prison.
When Smith visits Aamer every three months, he brings him books. “When I am allowed to read,” Aamer wrote, “for a short while it lifts the heavily gloom that hangs over me.” And, “Clive amuses himself (and me) by testing what the censors will let through.”
“It is difficult to identify a consistent or logical basis for the censorship: in months gone by, I have been allowed to read Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell but Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’sThe Gulag Archipelago did not make it through,” Aamer reported.