Cantabs Caged in Amnesty Protest

Members of CU Amnesty have taken to their encaging themselves on Kings Parade as part of their latest protest.

amnest amnesty international cage charity cu amnesty guantanamo jump suit King's King's College nicci shall protest Shaker Aamer sophie hoare Student US

Members of CU Amnesty International have taken to their King’s Parade cage to fight for the release of the last British detainee in Guantanamo Bay.

Cambridge students are now adding their voices to the campaign against his continued detention, collecting signatures on a petition demanding that he be charged and given a fair trial immediately, or else to be released and re-united with his family in the UK.

Protesters in orange jumpsuits will keep a wooden cage outside King’s continually occupied until 6pm on Sunday as they urge passers-by to sign their names on a life-size cut-out of a man.

Amnesty going for a high-visibility protest

Nicci Shall, chair of Cambridge Amnesty International, emphasised the importance of the “visual image” of the cage.

Shall added that the cage: “can be quite traumatic at times… you might wake up in a puddle of water, or sometimes drunks come by and try to break the cage.”

But despite the thankless hardship (apparently drunks prefer to draw penises on the petition than sign it), the protesters all agreed it was worth it for the success they have had in the past.

Past cage campaigns have collected hundred of signatures for various causes, and enthusiastic protesters hope to hit 600-700 this time.

Student Rosamund Brown spoke of her commitment to the cause: “We can’t act as though it’s a minor matter to deny someone their basic human rights, and to let them languish in solitary confinement indefinitely without even knowing why this is happening. Until Shaker Aamer is released we will never forget that this injustice continues.”

Boxing Clever: CUAI Chair Nicci Shall (left) and CUSU Sabb Taz Rasul

Aamer was arrested in 2002 for allegedly leading a unit of fighters in Afghanistan. His lawyers have said the evidence collected would never stand up in court. Imprisoned since without charge or trial, Aamer has endured months of solitary confinement and alleges being beaten, exposed to extremes of temperature and deprived of sleep.

Bigshots David Miliband, Nick Clegg and William Hague have all called for his return to the UK, and both the Bush and Obama administrations have cleared him for release.

Now Amnesty Cantabs must sit tight in their cage and wait to see if their efforts might make a difference. The petition will be available for anyone to sign until tomorrow evening.

Photographs by Chrystal Ding