Brits feel 'slap in the face’ from Obama over Guantanamo detainee

Brits feel 'slap in the face’ from Obama over Guantanamo detainee
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Top leaders of the British government are throwing barbs at the Obama administration for stonewalling their attempts to free a detainee held at Guantanamo Bay for the last 13 years.

Despite repeated pleas for the White House to release Shaker Aamer into British custody, the 48-year-old Saudi citizen remains confined at the U.S. detention facility.


Prime Minister David Cameron reportedly personally pressed President Obama on the matter during a global summit in Germany this weekend.

On Sunday, four members of British Parliament also took to the pages of The New York Times to make their case.

“It is difficult for us to shake off the depressing notion that the Obama administration is indifferent to the repeated requests of the British government," Jeremy Corbyn, Andy Slaughter, David Davis and Andrew Mitchell wrote in an op-ed. Corbyn and Slaughter and members of the Labour Party, while Davis and Mitchell are Conservatives.

“It is a slap in the face for America’s staunchest friend.”

Aamer, a former U.K. resident, was arrested in Afghanistan in 2001, and was “brutally tortured” at Afghanistan’s Bagram Prison, the British lawmakers wrote. In 2002, he was transferred to the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.

He has been cleared for release twice but never released, despite the pleas from Cameron and a March motion in the House of Commons. He has never been charged with a crime and has spent much of his 13 years at Guantanamo in solitary confinement.   

Corbyn, Slaughter, Davis and Mitchell recently traveled to the U.S. to press their case, but found themselves repeatedly stonewalled.  

Special envoys at both the State and Defense departments “were unable to adequately answer our questions regarding a timeline for Mr. Aamer’s transfer," they wrote. Members of Congress, meanwhile, demonstrated a “lack of knowledge” about the case, which “indicates a troubling failure by the White House to communicate the importance of it.”

Aamer’s wife and four children live in London, and the British government maintains it could safely keep watch over him.

“There is simply no reason, domestic or international, for the United States to keep Mr. Aamer in custody,” the four concluded.

During a summit for the Group of Seven (G7) in Germany this weekend, Cameron again reiterated the point.

“We are very clear we need to find a resolution to the case of Shaker Aamer,” Cameron told Obama during a 50-minute meeting on the sidelines of the summit, a source within 10 Downing Street told the Daily Mail