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Shaker Aamer

Volume 538: debated on Tuesday 17 January 2012

1. What recent progress he has made towards securing the release of Shaker Aamer from Guantanamo Bay. (89805)

The British Government remain committed to securing Shaker Aamer’s release and return to the United Kingdom. I raised his case again with Secretary Clinton during my visit to Washington on 12 December. My officials are currently exploring the new US legislation on detainee transfers for the implications for this case.

I thank the Foreign Secretary for that answer and for the continued efforts of the Government on Mr Aamer’s behalf. Obviously, it has been 10 years so I wonder whether the Foreign Secretary could say more to the House about what he considers to be the roadblocks to release and whether he has given any consideration to asking international bodies, such as the United Nations, to support the British Government in their efforts to release Mr Aamer.

This is a matter for the United States, not for international authorities. My hon. Friend is aware of the difficulties; there have been no transfers out from Guantanamo since the National Defence Authorisation Act, passed in 2010, all but precluded transfers from Guantanamo Bay. The Act has recently been renewed for 2012, with some amendments, which is why we are looking at its implications. We have asked about Mr Aamer’s health and welfare, and have been assured that he is in reasonable health, has access to medical treatment and is not held in solitary confinement.