Shaker Aamer, the last British resident held in Guantanamo Bay, is to be released, the White House has announced. Aamer is alleged to have led a unit of Taliban fighters and have plotted with Osama Bin Laden, but he has never been charged or been on trial.
In a statement, a government spokesman confirmed that Aamer would be released after a 30 day notice period, and is set to be reunited with his family.
‘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 spokesman said.
‘In terms of next steps, we understand that the US government has notified Congress of this decision and once that notice period has been concluded, Mr Aamer will be returned to the UK.’
Aamer was initially detained in Kabul in 2001, with US authorities alleging that he had been instrumental in leading Taliban fighters, and had previously helped then al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.
But Mr Aamer has always maintained his innocence and claimed he was doing charity work.
He has permission to live indefinitely in the UK as his wife is a British national, and lives in London with the couple’s four children.
Kate Allen, the UK director of Amnesty International, described Aamer’s release as a ‘huge relief.’
‘Let’s not forget that his 13-year ordeal at Guantanamo has been an absolute travesty of justice’, she said.
‘Shaker Aamer is the last UK resident to finally get out of Guantanamo and his return to Britain brings a long, painful chapter to a close.’