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Homeland Security

UK must free last British resident in Guantanamo, says Amnesty

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

London, Nov 22, IRNA -- Amnesty International Monday urged the UK to act to ensure the last British resident held by the US in Guantanamo Bay concentration camp is freed or put on trial.

In a letter to Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague, Amnesty's UK director, Kate Allen, asked him to make a public statement calling for Saudi-born Shaker Aamer to either be 'charged and fairly tried or released'.

Aamer, 43, has been held at the US detention centre for almost nine years without charge. Last week, the British government announced a compensation settle for 16 UK citizens and residents held in Guantanamo who have been claiming they were tortured.

'When it announced financial settlements for former Guantanamo detainees last week, the government said it wanted to 'draw a line' under cases involving detention and alleged abuse overseas, yet Shaker Aamer is still languishing in a cell,” said Allen.

'Dealing with what the government calls 'legacy issues' in the 'war on terror' must mean ensuring justice for Shaker. William Hague should make it a priority that he is returned to his family in Britain,' she said.

Aamer, who has a British wife, had been living in the UK since 1996 when he was captured by the US after travelling to Afghanistan in 2002. At the time of his capture, he was applying for British citizenship and had indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
He is among detainees who claimed he was tortured in Afghanistan, including by US officials while British personnel were present. According to the BBC, he is also included in Britain’s compensation package.

Last week, Hague confirmed that his government had 'reiterated our position that we would like to see this gentleman returned to the United Kingdom and that is under consideration by the United States' after meeting US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington.

Britain is also waiting to formally launch an inquiry into allegations of British collusion in the torture of prisoners detained in the war on terrorism and it is reported that Aamer could be a prime witness.

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Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 30085645



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