• Shaker Aamer Finally Gets Released From Gitmo To UK After 13 Years

    The U.S. just released United Kingdom resident Shaker Aamer from Guantanamo Bay after holding him without charges for 13 years, according to a Department of Defense press release.

    Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed Aamer back to the United Kingdom and a spokesman said there are no plans to detain him further. Public safety will not be endangered by his return, the spokesman added.

    Aamer’s case has attracted the attention of celebrities and politicians and Cameron has long pressured the White House for his release. (RELATED: David Cameron Prepares To Ask Obama For The Last Brit Left In Guantanamo)

    “The Americans announced some weeks ago that they were going to release Shaker Aamer from Guantánamo and I can confirm that he is on his way back to the U.K. now and he will arrive in Britain later today,” said Philip Hammond, the U.K.’s foreign secretary, according to The Guardian.

    U.S. forces jailed Aamer in February 2002 after suspecting him of close associations with Osama bin Laden. The Northern Alliance in Afghanistan first captured him in 2001. But Aamer, now 46 years old, insists he was just in Afghanistan for charity work, though the U.S. government claims he had links to al-Qaida. The U.S. insists Aamer was busy engaging in finance and recruitment work for the terror group, even while still in Britain. While in Afghanistan, he reportedly worked for bin Laden.

    Aamer quickly took a leadership role at Gitmo and started a hunger strike. The protest resulted in the suicide of three detainees, at which point officials isolated Aamer from the rest of the prison population.

    Upon landing, Aamer said he first wants a thorough medical examination and then to see his wife.

    Aamer’s release means that there are only 112 detainees left in the prison facility. A total of 51 detainees are recommended for transfer, as long as security conditions are met in the receiving country. The problem with that stipulation is that many of the detainees up for release are from Yemen, a country devastated by months of fighting between forces loyal to President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and Houthi fighters. In the past few weeks, 1,300 civilians have died, including 198 children. A total of 6,000 other civilians have been injured.

    It’s unclear whether MI5 will keep Aamer under close watch.

    Follow Jonah Bennett on Twitter

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