Shaker Aamer still detained in Guantanamo after 11 years

31st Mar 2013
Shaker Aamer still detained in Guantanamo after 11 years

Hamed Chapman

The UK Government is still seeking the release of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay for more than 11 years without trial or charge.

“The British government takes the case of Mr Aaamer very seriously, and as such, we remain committed to using our best efforts to secure his release and safe return to the UK,” Foreign Office Minister, Alistair Burt said.

In a letter obtained by The Muslim News, Burt said that Foreign Secretary, William Hague, had made “multiple representations” to the US, including raising the case numerous times with former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

It was revealed in Parliament last October that Hague and Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond, also tackled former US Defence Secretary, Leon Panetta, in June 2012 about the promised release of the 44-year old British resident.

Aamer, a Saudi national, remains detained despite being cleared for release by the Bush Administration in 2007 and the Obama Administration in 2009.

He was captured in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, in November 2001 and sent to Guantanamo in February 2002, but has never been charged or put on trial.

US President, Barack Obama, pledged to close the detention camp shortly after coming to office in 2009. But the passing of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) earlier this year has effectively doomed the prospects.

Burt, who is responsible for counter-terrorism, was replaying to a letter to Prime Minister, David Cameron, from Shadow Justice Secretary, Sadiq Khan, taking up the case of his Tooting constituent, in which he also warned that lawyers have started legal proceedings against the UK security and intelligence service.

“The British Government believes that indefinite detention without trial is wrong and will continue to call for the closure of Guantanamo Bay,” the Foreign Office Minister insisted in his reply.

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