Shaker Aamer, the last British resident being held in Guantanamo Bay Prison has been released, UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has confirmed.
“The Americans announced some weeks ago that they were going to release Shaker Aamer from Guantanamo and I can confirm that he is on his way back to the UK now and he will arrive in Britain later today,” Hammond said.
Aamer has been held in the Guantanamo military prison for more than 13 years, without ever being charged or put on trial.
Originally from Saudi Arabia, Aamer has permission to live in the UK with his British wife and four children.
In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, Aamer was seized by bounty hunters in Afghanistan, then handed over to US forces in 2001. Two months later, he was taken to Guantanamo Bay Prison in Cuba, and has been detained there without a trial for more than 13 years now.
Aamer was cleared for release twice since 2007 but has not been returned to UK despite diplomatic efforts.
In 2013, American and the British diplomats reached an agreement for the return of Aamer, but he was not released. The UK has continued to work for his release since then.
"The government has regularly raised Mr Aamer's case with the US authorities and we support President Obama's commitment to closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay," the Foreign Office spokesman said.
During his presidential campaign and throughout his term in office, US President Barack Obama has vowed several times to close the Guantanamo Bay prison.
The administration has increased efforts toward that end, transferring Guantanamo detainees to their home countries or to third countries.
112 men, more than dozens of which are cleared for release, are still being held in Guantanamo.