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    Britain’s Top Doctors Urge Release of Gravely Ill Man From Guantanamo

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    Thirty-three prominent British doctors reportedly have called in a joint letter for a return of a legal UK resident to his British family.

    MOSCOW, January 15 (Sputnik) — Thirty-three prominent British doctors have called for a return of a legal UK resident to his British family, after he spent 13 years in the US Guantanamo detention camp in Cuba, the Daily Mail said Thursday citing a joint letter.

    In the letter, physicians, from leading physicians to Foreign Office health experts, warned about the rapidly deteriorating physical and mental health of Shaker Aamer, 46, who was imprisoned without a trial in 2002. According to the UK newspaper, Aamer has been beaten more than 300 times since he was put in jail, and suffers from a host of serious illnesses, from asthma to a urinary disorder.

    American authorities maintain that the prisoner has been provided with medical care, but prisoners' advocates allege that medical procedures at the Cuban detention camp are mainly used to thwart dissent, rather than satisfy medical needs. For instance, in November a public testimonial hearing at a US court revealed that hunger-striking detainees were frequently subjected to painful and damaging force-feeds as a form of punishment.

    The British doctors have come to the conclusion that Aamer's indefinite detention is having an "appalling effect" on his mental health, and called for his speedy "reunification" with his family. His wife and their four children are all British citizens, while Aamer is a legal UK resident.

    The Daily Mail also found that in 2006 doctors sought to raise the issue of Aamer's release from US detention with the Foreign Office's pro bono medical panel, which helps Britons jailed overseas, but the Foreign Office rejected their plea as it did not want to create a precedent for someone who is not a UK national.

    The Guantanamo prison was established in 2002 in the wake of 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States. Ever since, the military prison has been the subject of criticism by human rights advocates, as former detainees described the inhumane conditions of their imprisonment, including the use of torture. There are currently 122 detainees held in Guantanamo Bay.

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