As reported by the Daily Mail:
You must do more for Guantanamo Briton, Cameron is told after US reveals Shaker Aamer is no nearer to freedom
David Cameron was under renewed pressure last night to tackle Barack Obama over America’s failure to release Guantanamo inmate Shaker Aamer.
In a bitter blow to campaigners fighting for the 48-year-old, it emerged that the US Defence Secretary has admitted that the last British resident at the notorious military camp is no nearer to freedom.
Last month the US President promised to ‘prioritise’ the father-of-four’s case after the Prime Minister raised his plight during talks at the White House.
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But almost a month on, no action has been taken – prompting accusations Mr Obama has fobbed off Mr Cameron with ‘weasel words’, while putting Downing Street under pressure to step up its demands.
Joanne MacInnes, co-ordinator of the We Stand For Shaker campaign, said: ‘David Cameron must do more to insist that the US releases Shaker.
‘If he really cared at all, he would have secured Shaker’s freedom a long time ago.
‘It inevitably raises questions about whether Britain is not doing enough because it has actually got something to hide.’
US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel, who must give the final authority to transfer captives from the facility in Cuba, has confirmed Mr Aamer’s file had still not crossed his desk.
Challenged on whether he was still willing to sign off the release of Guantanamo inmates, he dismayed Mr Aamer’s supporters by telling reporters recently he had nothing pending in his in-tray.
Responding to claims he had one file ‘on his desk’, he said: ‘I don’t know about one still on my desk, unless it’s under my desk. As far as I know, I have made a decision on everything that is ready to be made a decision on.’
On Saturday, Mr Aamer, who lived in South London with his wife and four children, will have been held in Guantanamo for exactly 13 years without charge or trial.
He has twice been cleared for release – first by the Bush administration in 2007 and again by President Obama in 2009.
Clive Stafford Smith, the detainee’s lawyer and director of human rights charity Reprieve, said: ‘The admission that Shaker’s case isn’t even on Chuck Hagel’s desk suggests that Obama’s claims to be prioritising it may be little more than weasel words.
‘If the US government wanted to prioritise invading a country, it could be done in a week. So sending one man home to his family in London cannot be too much to ask.
‘Coming just days after David Cameron personally requested that Shaker be returned home to Britain, it doesn’t say much for the state of the so-called special relationship.’
Mr Stafford Smith added: ‘The suspicion must be that the US fears he will reveal yet more about its shameful torture programme if he is ever allowed to speak freely.’
Tory MP David Davis said: ‘It is simply not good enough for the US Defence Secretary to ignore decisions made by two US presidents. He should be released without further ado.’
The US administration has said it is ‘aggressively pursuing the transfer’ of Guantanamo’s remaining inmates. The number has plunged to 122 from a peak of 650, and Mr Obama has vowed to close the detention camp before the end of his term in office.
Saudi-born Mr Aamer moved to London almost 20 years ago and married, securing leave to remain in Britain. In 2001, he was detained in Kabul after going to Afghanistan to carry out peaceful voluntary work for an Islamic charity, his representatives claim.
His supporters allege he was then captured by bounty hunters, handed to the US military for $5,000 and tortured at a secret ‘black site’ prison – effectively a dungeon. He was then sent to Guantanamo Bay in February 2002.