[JURIST] The US Department of Defense (DOD) [official website] on Friday announced that the last remaining British inmate, Shaker Aamer, has been released [press release] and returned to the UK after extensive review [report, PDF] by the Guantanamo Review Task Force. Though he is a citizen of the UK through marriage, Aamer identifies himself as a Saudi national. In 2001, Aamer was allegedly performing charity work in Afghanistan when he was captured [BBC report] by bounty hunters and transferred to a US military base as an al Qaeda suspect. Aamer was transferred to Guantanamo in 2002 and remained there for 13 years despite being approved for release in 2007 and 2009. Aamer was never charged and claims he was consistently subject to abusive treatment. He often accused the prison of unfair conditions and recently went on hunger strike [JURIST report] to express his concerns. Now that Aamer has returned to the UK, he must undergo [BBC report] physical and mental health assessment. Though it is unknown if he will be monitored for security reasons, Aamer has stated he has no ill intentions.
Aamer’s release comes in the midst of government efforts to release its remaining 112 detainees and close the Guantanamo Bay military prison. The DOD recently released [JURIST report] Ahmed Ould Abdel Aziz from detention and sent him back to his home country of Mauritania. Earlier this month, a judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia ordered the release [JURIST report] of eight videos depicting forced-feeding at Guantanamo Bay as part of Abu Wa’el Dhiab’s suit against the federal government. At the beginning of September, White House spokesperson Josh Earnest said President Barack Obama is considering a “wide array” [JURIST report] of options for closing the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. While Earnest said that Congressional consent would be the best means to shut the facility down, he would not rule out executive action as a last resort.