For Immediate Release
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Prime Minister Must Secure Guantanamo Brit’s Release at Obama Meeting
LONDON - In the wake of comments made by a senior Pentagon official regarding the transfer of cleared prisoners from Guantanamo Bay, David Cameron is being urged to secure the release of Shaker Aamer, the last remaining British resident.
Paul Lewis, the Pentagon’s special envoy for Guantanamo detention closure, told today's New York Times that “the Defense Department continues to aggressively pursue the transfer” of detainees “who have been declared eligible” for release.
British resident Shaker Aamer, from South London, was cleared for release from the prison by the Bush administration in 2007 and again by President Obama in 2009. He has never faced a trial or been charged with a crime, yet has been detained since 2002.
It has long been stated British policy that Shaker should be returned to his British wife and four young children – the youngest of whom he has never met. Prime Minister David Cameron is reportedly travelling to the US in January to meet President Obama and is being urged by legal charity Reprieve – which represents Mr Aamer – to raise his case and return from the visit with a clear date for Mr Aamer’s release.
Cori Crider, Strategic Director at Reprieve and Mr Aamer’s lawyer, said: “Mr Lewis says that those who have ‘been declared eligible’ should be released from Guantanamo. No one could be more eligible than Shaker who has been cleared for release twice and who has a country – and beloved family – ready and waiting for his return. If we are to believe that the US-UK relationship is as special as the Prime Minister claims, he must secure Shaker’s release.”
Reprieve is a UK-based human rights organization that uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay.