PJ Harvey released a new track on Saturday to draw attention to the case of a British resident detained at Guantanamo Bay. Following in the dark, politically charged vein of 2011’s Let England Shake, “Shaker Aamer” describes the agony of its title subject’s four-month hunger strike as he endures the prison’s feeding tubes, restraining chairs and shackles.
Aamer is the last British resident remaining in the US prison. According to the Guardian, the 46-year-old has been held at Guantanamo for more than 11 years without being charged or tried. He was cleared for release in 2007, and the British government has repeatedly requested that Aamer, who has a British wife and four British-born children, be returned to the UK. While the US announced last week that it would restart its repatriation of low-level detainees from Guantanamo, Aamer’s supporters fear that he will be sent to his birthplace of Saudi Arabia for imprisonment instead.
“We hope that people listen to this song and think about Shaker Aamer’s plight: detained for eleven long years at Guantanamo, without charge or trial – despite having been cleared for release by both Bush and Obama,” Clive Stafford Smith, Aamer’s lawyer and director of the prisoners’ rights nonprofit Reprieve, said in a statement on Harvey’s website. “The UK Government must do everything it can to bring Shaker back home to his wife and kids in London, where he belongs. PJ Harvey has written a wonderful song – I know Shaker will be deeply moved by it – and I only hope that, with the support of the public, he will one day be able to listen to it in freedom.”