British Guantanamo detainee ‘may know too much’ about CIA torture, fresh calls for release
Shaker Aamer, who is originally from Saudi Arabia but moved to Battersea in South London where he has a wife and four children, has been held without charge at the US military prison in Cuba since 2002.
Jane Ellison, health minister and Conservative MP for Battersea, told the Daily Mail: “Shaker Aamer's continued detention in Guantanamo Bay is unacceptable.
“The UK government has confirmed repeatedly that they want him released to the UK and the latest revelations serve to underline that Shaker Aamer should be immediately reunited with his family in Battersea.”
Aamer, 47, is one of just over 100 prisoners remaining at the notorious detention center. He is accused of having been a close associate of Osama Bin Laden, which he denies. He was detained in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 2011, where he traveled for humanitarian work, he said.
His lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, said the reason Aamer is still held at Guantanamo Bay is that if freed he could reveal details of the torture that has been inflicted upon him, and what happened to other detainees.
“Shaker knows too much. National embarrassment isn't a reason to keep a man who has been cleared for release locked away in prison. Shaker must be returned to his family in London at once,” said Smith.
He was allegedly tortured at the Bagram air force base while questioned by US forces. In 2010, it emerged the Metropolitan Police were investigating allegations that MI5 was complicit in his torture.
Tony Blair reportedly supported Shaker Aamer's imprisonment, while Gordon Brown asked for his release. David Cameron reiterated this request.
Aamer has even been approved for release at least twice by the US authorities, most recently under Obama in 2009.
In 2013, William Hague told US authorities that Aamer should be returned to the UK to face justice there. Ellison reportedly met with Hague in April 2013 to discuss a public plea.
“As many retired US military leaders have acknowledged, there are 166 men currently being held there but a far greater number of jihadists have been recruited in fury at Guantánamo's very existence,” she said at the time.
“And if Britain, a trusted ally, is offering to help by moving one man out of there, giving President Obama one less problem to solve, then surely the Americans should seize that offer?”
A Foreign Office spokesperson said in May 2013: “Mr Aamer's case remains a high priority for the UK government and we continue to make clear to the US that we want him released and returned to the UK as a matter of urgency. We do not comment on private meetings with MPs.”
Barack Obama had promised to close the controversial camp within a year of taking office in January 2009.