Last UK resident to be released from Guantanamo prison

US to release last British resident Shaker Aamer from Guantanamo after more than 13 years of detention

Courtesy of: Reprieve
Courtesy of: Reprieve

Guantanamo detainee Shaker Aamer

The last UK resident Guantanamo detainee Shaker Aamer will be released from the prison, both British and US authorities confirmed on Friday.

Aamer, 46, has been held in the Guantanamo military prison for more than 13 years, without ever being charged or put on trial.

"We have been notified by the US government that it has decided to return Shaker Aamer to the UK," a British Foreign Office spokesman said confirming the release decision.

The US Congress will have a 30-day review period after the Department of Defense notifies it about the release, which means Aamer can be returned to UK by Oct. 25.

Originally from Saudi Arabia, Aamer has permission to live in the UK with his British wife and four children. His daughter, Johina Aamer tweeted “We can't believe we might finally see our Dad after 14 years,” following the news.

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.

Earlier in September, the United States has released a Moroccan prisoner, Younis Abdurrahman Chekkouri, who was held at the Guantanamo Bay US Military base in Cuba for 13 years, to his home country.

114 men, more than 50 of which are cleared for release, are still being held in Guantanamo.

TRTWorld and agencies