Battersea Guantanamo detainee Shaker Aamer to be released

Battersea’s Shaker Aamer, the last British resident being held in Guantanamo Bay, is to be returned to the UK, a government spokesman has said.

The father-of-four  was taken to the infamous prison on Valentine’s Day in 2002 – on the same day his youngest was born.

He has never been charged or put on trial.

He has permission to live in the UK because his wife is a British national.

Johina Aamer tweeted: “Thank you everyone for all the support. The news hasn’t hit yet.

“We can’t believe we might finally see our Dad after 14 years.”

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said: “The news is a huge relief – for his family and his supporters, all of whom have worked tirelessly to get Shaker Aamer out of Guantánamo.

“In the past Mr Aamer has reportedly been at death’s door during a hunger strike and his return to his family in Britain won’t come a moment too soon.

“The immediate focus should now be on providing medical and other support for Mr Aamer on his return to the UK, but let’s not forget that his 13-year ordeal at Guantánamo has been an absolute travesty of justice.

“Shaker Aamer is the last UK resident to finally get out of Guantánamo and his return to Britain brings a long, painful chapter to a close.”

“But let’s not forget that more than 100 detainees will still be left at the camp after Mr Aamer comes through Guantánamo’s gates.

“This is far from over. The USA must promptly charge all the remaining detainees with recognisably criminal offences and ensure they receive a fair trial before a federal civilian court, or safely release them.”

A government spokesman said: “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.

“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.”

This decision comes four months after a cross-party delegation of MPs, including Jeremy Corbyn, flew to Washington to plead his case.

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