Heard of British comedian Frankie Boyle? He is a controversial comedian with a cutting edge and the sort of humour you will either love or hate. Frankie has appeared on many TV shows in the UK and has written at least one book but now he is in the news for an entirely different reason.
Frankie has gone on hunger strike in support of a British man, Shaker Aamer, detained, without trial, at Guantanamo Bay, aka Gitmo, since 2002.
It is hoped that the publicity will help to speed-up any action on his release. Let's face it any such publicity could help the cause even if it may seem a drop in the ocean. President Obama came to office vowing to close Gitmo but little if anything has changed. The conclusion has to be that either Barack Obama is a liar or that he is little more than a token President with others actually running the country.
If that is the case you have to wonder why the USA spends such an extraordinary length of time and amount of money on its election process. Certainly the Republican led Congress has prevented Obama many times from seeing through election pledges making the whole political scene in the US farcical.
Shaker Aamer is the prisoner at the centre of this story. He is a legal citizen of the UK, a father of four and married to a British woman. In December TEK reported that Shaker, the last Briton to be held at Gitmo was going to sue the British government. Here is his story, at TEK:
Shaker Aamer is a Saudi national who arrived in the UK in 1996. He was given permission to remain in the UK indefinitely. That was of course prior to 9/11. For the last 11 years his family have remained in the UK but he has been a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay, the infamous US terrorist prison also known as Gitmo.
If Mr Aamer was a white British born man perhaps people in the UK and the government would have done more to secure his freedom. If he is a criminal then a trial and conviction would have shown that. As it is, he is nothing more than a kidnap victim being held by the USA and its secret services.
Was he simply a man in the wrong place at the wrong time? Having served a thirteen-year prison sentence already he has paid a huge price either way.
Frankie Boyle is a rather lean person and so opting to begin a hunger-strike in support of Mr Aamer is admirable. According to MSN News "He [Mr Aamer] has himself been on hunger strike since March, along with an estimated three-quarters of the 166 men still held at the Cuban base."
Perhaps more shockingly "Shaker, who grew up in Saudi Arabia, has long been cleared for release by the US and has never been charged with a crime in the country, according to Reprieve."
US lawyer Clive Stafford Smith, the founder and director of legal action charity Reprieve began the hunger-strike. He did this for a week and was then replaced by Frankie. One week at a time may sound OK but trust us when we say it is no mean feat. In our 21st Century celebrity world, with twitter following events, the celebrity hunger strike may result in some positive action. We can only hope.
Veteran American actress Julie Christie has volunteered to go on hunger strike for a week also. Watch this space as we will try to follow this story with updates as available.
Related reading at TEK:
Guantanamos last Briton to sue UK