Shaker Aamer, the last British resident to be held at Guantanamo Bay, arrived on UK soil yesterday after 13 years at the U.S. detention camp. His repatriation came via a chartered jet that cost taxpayers as much as £70,000 and now the former prisoner stands to collect a £1 million payment to ensure he remains silent about his treatment in detention.
The Saudi national known as ‘Prisoner 239’ during his incarceration touched down at Biggin Hill airport in Kent at around 1pm. He arrived aboard a £23million Gulfstream IV chartered at a estimated £70,000 cost that was split 50-50 by the Home Office and the Foreign Office.
Ramzi Kassem, a law professor at the City University of New York’s school of law, who was involved in Mr Aamer’s case revealed that the 46-year-old has a number of health issues.
“He suffers from a number of conditions both physical and psychological, including post-traumatic stress disorder on the severe end of the PTSD spectrum,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
Mr Kassem also said that five weeks ago, when he informed Mr. Shaker he would he released, the prisoner did not initially seem to “register” what he was saying.
As Mr Aamer made his arrival, the Daily Mail revealed that:
- The Government is likely to offer him well over £1million to keep quiet about allegations of UK complicity in torture;
- Downing Street said Mr Aamer was ‘free’ and would not be detained;
- Intelligence agents are likely to want to interview him but he will not be placed under close surveillance.
His lawyer Clive Stafford-Smith said Mr Aamer was prepared to co-operate with the authorities.
“We have offered them any security arrangements they like,” he added. “If anyone has question marks they always have the opportunity to charge him and we’ve said that for years.”
The father of four was arrested in Afghanistan after travelling to the country with his family from their home in South London, he says to open a school and charity. The U.S. authorities, however, maintain that he was a senior al-Qaida operative, trained in explosive-making, with links to terrorist groups in the UK and US.
Now he has rejoined his family in London the compensation payout of £1 million from British taxpayers will be finalised under the terms of an agreement brokered in 2010 by then Justice secretary, Conservative MP Kenneth Clarke, despite the Americans holding a detailed 15 page dossier of allegations against Aamer.
The dossier includes allegations that Mr. Aamer fought alongside Bin Laden in Tora Bora as an al-Qaida sub-commander, and that he was close to a number of UK based terrorists before first visiting Afghanistan in 1998; an allegation which his lawyer insists can be easily disproved.
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