Guantanamo Bay detainee and UK resident Shaker Aamer is expected to be freed in June, US government sources have revealed.
The UK has made repeated calls since 2007 for the release of the 48-year-old, who was born in Saudi Arabia but who has a British wife and four children in London, reports the Daily Mail.
Mr Aamer, who has been held at Guantanamo without charge for more than 13 years, is likely to be transferred to an undisclosed country over the summer, probably in June, along with up to 10 other detainees, a US government official said.
The official told AFP that the transfer will take place after a 30-day notice period to Congress, following a sign-off from Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter.
A total of 122 detainees remain at Guantanamo, 57 of whom have been deemed “releasable” by a review committee, including those slated for release this summer.
“The goal is to transfer all 57,” said Lieutenant Colonel Myles Caggins, a Pentagon spokesman. “We’re going to support the President’s mission of closing Guantanamo through transfers of detainees and prosecutions through military commissions,” he said.
US President Barack Obama has repeatedly vowed to close the prison at the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
According to human rights group Reprieve, which represents Shaker Aamer, he was volunteering for a charity in Afghanistan in 2001 when he was abducted and sold for a bounty to US forces.
Reprieve says he was then tortured, and eventually cracked, agreeing to whatever his captors accused him of doing. Satisfied with the confession of an abused and broken man, US forces took him to Guantanamo Bay in February 2002.
He cleared for release in 2007, but this process required no fewer than six US government agencies to agree that he had done nothing wrong, yet he still remained imprisoned.