For Immediate Release
Reprieve’s press office: +44 (0) 207 553 8140
US 'Discussed Sending Guantanamo Brit to Saudi' Despite Promise to UK
LONDON - US officials may have attempted to negotiate the forced return of British resident Shaker Aamer to Saudi Arabia, despite a promise to the UK not to do so, it’s been revealed.
Previously-secret documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that in August 2010, less than two months after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told then-Foreign Secretary William Hague that she ‘welcomed... discussing Mr Aamer’s case’, the US instructed its Saudi embassy on ‘engaging Saudi Arabia on Shaker Aamer’. Another document reveals how, at an August 2013 meeting between senior US officials and the Saudi interior minister, Mr Aamer was described as a ‘Saudi citizen with significant ties to the UK’.
Shaker Aamer, a father of four British children, has been held at Guantanamo Bay without charge or trial since 2002. He has been cleared for release twice, by the Bush administration in 2007, and by President Obama in 2009. The British Government has repeatedly said Mr Aamer should be returned to his British wife and children in London.
SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT
Never Miss a Beat.
Get our best delivered to your inbox.
In January, following talks between Prime Minister David Cameron and President Obama, the White House said it would ‘prioritise’ Mr Aamer’s case, but concerns were raised when, one month later, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said that Mr Aamer’s case was not ‘on his desk.’ At a Parliamentary debate this afternoon, MPs will call on President Obama to keep his promise to free Mr Aamer to the UK.
Cori Crider, a director at human rights organization Reprieve and a lawyer for Mr Aamer, said: ‘It is a scandal that Shaker Aamer continues to languish in Guantanamo. Bland reassurances that the Obama administration is prioritising his case are no longer enough. We need a concrete timetable for his return home, and we must see answers on why this didn’t happen years ago. For a start, we need to know what happened in secret meetings between the UK and US, and the US and Saudi Arabia – are these indications of an attempt to silence him by handing him over to the Saudi regime?’
This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.
Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.
Please select a donation method:
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.