Shaker Aamer: Last UK Guantanamo Bay detainee arrives in UK

Shaker Aamer: Last UK Guantanamo Bay detainee arrives in UK


The last British resident to be held in Guantanamo Bay has landed in the UK, having been detained for 13 years.

Shaker Aamer was held at the US military base in Cuba over allegations he had led a Taliban unit and had met Osama Bin Laden, but was never charged.

Downing Street said there were “no plans” to detain him after his arrival.

Mr Aamer said he felt “obliged” to everyone who fought for him to be released, and to “bring an end to Guantanamo”.

“My thanks go to Allah first, second to my wife, my family, to my kids and then to my lawyers who did everything they could to carry the word to the world,” he said.

“I am overwhelmed by what people have done by their actions, their thoughts and their prayers, and without their devotion to justice I would not be here in Britain now.”

Concern has been raised over the health of the Saudi national, 48, whose family live in London, and the BBC witnessed an ambulance arrive at the airport.

Number 10 said Prime Minister David Cameron “welcomes” the release of Mr Aamer, who has permission to live in the UK indefinitely because his wife is British.

It also said any necessary security measures “will be put in place”.

The plane, believed to be carrying Shaker Aamer, touched down earlier

The father-of-four landed at London’s Biggin Hill Airport shortly before 13:00 GMT.

Mr Aamer’s father-in-law, Saeed Siddique, said his release was a “miracle”.

“It’s a delightful day,” he told BBC News while admitting it was also a “surprise”.

Mr Aamer was detained at Guantanamo for 13 years

Mr Aamer, who was first held by US authorities in Afghanistan in 2001, maintains he was in the country doing charity work.

Since 2007 Mr Aamer, who claims he was tortured, has been cleared for release twice, by US presidents George W Bush and then Barack Obama.

It is understood Mr Aamer will go through standard immigration checks now he has arrived in the UK.

Mr Aamer’s legal representative Clive Stafford Smith told BBC News: “Shaker only wants the truth to come out he is not interested in persecuting anyone.

“His first priority is health – he really is in terrible shape.”

In letters sent to the BBC by his lawyers earlier this month, Mr Aamer described himself as “an old car that has not been to the garage for years”, saying the first thing he wanted once freed was a cup of coffee.


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