Hague urged to demand Guantanamo release

Britain is facing growing pressure to use its special relationship with the Obama administration to secure the freedom of the UK's last prisoner held at Guantánamo Bay.

The human rights group Amnesty International has written to the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, demanding "robust action" from the Government in the case of Shaker Aamer, a 43-year-old former British resident from London who has been held without charge or trial at the US detention centre for almost nine years.

In the letter, Amnesty's UK director, Kate Allen, tells Mr Hague that unless the UK intervenes in the case immediately, she fears Mr Aamer will languish in detention indefinitely.

Mr Aamer was among 16 former UK Guantanamo detainees to settle their compensation claims for complicity in torture against the Government. But his continued detention at the US Naval base raises questions about whether he is bound by the terms of the settlement, because he was not directly party to the negotiations.

Should he be released, he may continue his legal action in the UK. He claims that during his captivity in Afghanistan he was tortured in the presence of agents working for British secret services. These allegations are being investigated by Scotland Yard. On Wednesday, Mr Hague said he had told the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, that the Government would like Mr Aamer returned to the UK, and that this being considered by the US.

Mr Aamer, held since autumn 2001, is originally from Saudi Arabia but is married to a British citizen and has four British children living in south London. He had permission to live indefinitely in the UK when he was originally detained in Afghanistan by Afghan forces.

Ms Allen said: "When it announced financial settlements for former Guantánamo detainees last week, the Government said it wanted to 'draw a line' under cases involving detention and alleged abuse overseas, yet Shaker Aamer is still languishing in a cell at Guantánamo. It was very welcome to hear a recent announcement by the Foreign Secretary that he has asked Secretary of State Clinton to return Shaker, but in the absence of charges or a proper trial we now need to see Mr Hague and the US authorities agreeing a specific timetable for Shaker's release."

Shaker Aamer's lawyer, Gareth Peirce, added: "How is it possible for our Government to talk of drawing a line under the past, when a British resident who has been hideously tortured over many years is still in unlawful detention? Are we really as a country prepared to allow his 10th year of captivity to begin in the hands of Britain's closest ally?"

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Head Chef

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Garden Centre complex base...

Recruitment Genius: Buyer

£36000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Buyer is required to join thi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45000: SThree: SThree Group have been well es...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen