After 13 Years with No Charges, British Prisoner at Gitmo Finally Released

After thirteen years held without charges at the offshore U.S. prison at Guantanamo, 48-year-old British citizen Shaker Aamer was put on a private jet just after midnight on Friday and sent back to the UK.

According to reporting by Carol Rosenberg at the Miami Herald:

Reprieve, the non-profit legal defense group representing Aamer, said its understanding is that Shaker, who is believed to have landed at an airport outside of London sometime in the early morning, wants to spend time with his family and receive medical attention before he speaks to any media.

In response to news of his relief, Cori Crider, Shaker’s US attorney and Reprieve’s strategic director, said: “We are, of course, delighted that Shaker is on his way back to his home and his family here in the UK. It is long, long past time. Shaker now needs to see a doctor, and then get to spend time alone with his family as soon as possible.”

According to Reprieve director Clive Stafford Smith, Aamer aspires to set up set up a “Peace and Philanthropy Center” at a London university. The goal, Smith told the Herald, is to “share his experience — in the spirit of reconciliation, not persecution, to ensure that in the future nobody has to go through what he had gone through.”

When it came out earlier that Aamer might soon be released, Smith called it “great news, albeit about 13 years too late.”

The husband and father of four, Smith said, “is not and never has been a terrorist, and has been cleared by the Americans themselves for 8 years.” Now, he concluded, is the time for Aamer to start rebuilding his life.

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