Battersea’s Shaker Aamer lands in UK following Guantanamo Bay release

Battersea’s Shaker Aamer landed at Biggin Hill Airport this afternoon after being released from Guantanamo Bay.

The father-of-four is the last British citizen to be freed from the infamous US Cuban military prison.

The Saudi national, who is entitled to live in the UK as his wife Zin is British, was imprisoned on Valentine’s Day 2002 without trial and has never met his 14-year-old child.

Mr Aamer’s daughter  Johina, 17, 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. #ShakerAamer”

The 46-year-old was seized by bounty hunters in Afghanistan before being handed over to US forces in December 2001 and was accused of leading a unit of Taliban fighters.

Mr Aamer’s US attorney and Strategic Director at Reprieve, Cori Crider, said: “We are, of course, delighted that Shaker is on his way back to his home and his family here in the UK. “It is long, long past time.

“Shaker now needs to see a doctor, and then get to spend time alone with his family as soon as possible.” Tooting MP Sadiq Khan has campaigned on behalf of Mr Aamer both as a human rights lawyer prior to becoming an MP and afterwards.

Up until November 2004 Mr Khan worked for a law firm that represented a number of Guantanamo Bay detainees and raised Mr Aamer’s case in the House of Commons in 2010.

Mr Khan said: I welcome the news that after 13 long years Shaker Aamer has finally been released and has begun his journey home back to the UK and to his wife and children.”

“It is a disgrace that Shaker Aamer has been held in Guantanamo Bay all of this time, without charge or trial, despite being cleared for release eight years ago.

Mr Aamer was cleared for release in 2007 by both US Presidents George W Bush and Barack Obama but it has taken until now for his release.

The campaign to get Mr Aamer freed has had widespread support from the British public and politicians including Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn MP.

This month in a display of solidarity, celebrities and politicians took part in a 24-hour ‘Fast for Shaker’ hunger strike.

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