The last British resident held in Guántanamo Bay will be released to the UK, the Government has said.

Shaker Aamer, who has been in the America military prison in Cuba since 2002 after being captured in Afghanistan, has never been charged or been on trial.

He has spent 13 years in Guantanamo without charge, suffers from post traumatic stress disorder, and claimed he has been beaten and starved during his time in the prison camp.

Mr Aamer, who has a wife and four children in Wandsworth, is accused of being a close associate of Osama bin Laden, which he denies. He has never met his youngest child, who is 13.

A Government spokesman said: “We have been notified by the US Government that it has decided to return Shaker Aamer to the UK.

"The Government has regularly raised Mr Aamer’s case with the US authorities and we support President Obama’s commitment to closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.

"In terms of next steps, we understand that the US Government has notified Congress of this decision and once that notice period has been concluded, Mr Aamer will be returned to the UK.

"As the US has said, we have one of the most robust and effective systems in the world to deal with suspected terrorists and those suspected of engaging in terrorist related activity and we will continue to do all we can to protect people in Britain and around the world from the threat of terrorism."

July 2007: MP fights for release of Guantanamo Bay prisoner

Feb 2009: Hope for Battersea man in Guantanamo Bay

Feb 2010: We support campign to free Guantanamo detainee: Now your turn

MP for Tooting, Sadiq Khan, said: “Shaker Aamer is a British resident with family in the Tooting area. I have long campaigned for him to be brought home and I welcome the announcement that he is finally to be released from Guantanamo Bay where he has been held without charge for 13 years.

Wandsworth Times:

“It is an absolute disgrace that he is been held in Guantanamo Bay all of this time, despite being cleared for release eight years ago.

Wandsworth Times:

"I am sure that his wife and children will be looking forward to his long-awaited return home.”

February 2010: 'Heartbreaking' moment Shaker Aamer saw first photo of son

February 2010: Wife of Battersea Guantanamo detainee speaks of her family's torment

November 2010: EXCLUSIVE: Guantanamo detainees offered to sacrifice compensation for Shaker Aamer's release

An 18-year-old man from Earlsfield, who said he was at school with Mr Aamer's sons, but asked not to give his name, said: "It's fantastic. I got the news this morning.

"I'm amazed. What's been sad is he's been affiliated with the Taliban but he takes benefits. His children went to a private school, like £2,000 a year.

"He's like the last guy you could accuse."

The teenager, who has been actively involved in petitioning for Mr Aamer's release, added: "For the family it's been horrible. I personally know his children and it's been very hard.

"We had a little community thing, his kids came and they couldn't even talk about it.

"When he was taken his wife was pregnant so one of his sons has never met him."

He said: "Whether he's British or French or Italian or Christian or Muslim or Buddhist I will fight for him and there's no right for anyone to be there."

Poet Hilaire who heard the news while at Battersea Arts Centre today, where many ralies have been held, said: "I'm very emotional. It's great news but it is also tinged with that feeling it should have come much sooner.

"It's some justice but there's so much pain as well."

UK, Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said the news came as a huge relief for his family and his supporters who had worked to get Mr Aamer out of Guantánamo. 

She said: "In the past Mr Aamer has reportedly been at death’s door during a hunger strike and his return to his family in Britain won’t come a moment too soon. 

“The immediate focus should now be on providing medical and other support for Mr Aamer on his return to the UK, but let’s not forget that his 13-year ordeal at Guantánamo has been an absolute travesty of justice.

“Shaker Aamer is the last UK resident to finally get out of Guantánamo and his return to Britain brings a long, painful chapter to a close. 

“But let’s not forget that more than 100 detainees will still be left at the camp after Mr Aamer comes through Guantánamo’s gates.

"This is far from over.

"The USA must promptly charge all the remaining detainees with recognisably criminal offences and ensure they receive a fair trial before a federal civilian court, or safely release them."


Stuart Mckay, 34, who lives in Wandle Way, where Mr Aamer's father-in-law is believed to live said: "That sort of thing is condemned by the West and we are going and doing exactly the same thing."

He said it was "ridiculous" to lock someone up for 11 years for being considered a "potential terrorist".

The sports business owner added: "Claims of terror are no longer claims."

Surendra Patel, 62, who runs a newsagent in Lavender Hill, Battersea, said: "If it's proven guilty that's fine, they lock him up.

"But if he's innocent they should release him. That's all I can say."