The British family of Guantanamo detainee Shakar Aamer, who has twice been cleared for release by US authorities, have pleaded for Prime Minister David Cameron to again raise his case with President Barack Obama.
Shakar Aamer’s family called on Cameron to intervene after it emerged that US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who gives final authorization to free prisoners from Guantanamo, said Aamer’s name was “not on his desk.”
Hagel’s admission follows President Barack Obama’s promise to prioritize the case of Aamer during a meeting with Cameron at the White House last month.
British officials hope to persuade US authorities to return Aamer to the UK amid fears he could be sent to Saudi Arabia, the country of his birth.
It is believed the father of four will not be safe if he is dispatched to Saudi Arabia.
Lawyers for the British resident have written to Cameron asking what assurances Obama gave him during his meeting last month.
Clive Stafford Smith, Aamer’s lawyer and director of humans rights group Reprieve, described Obama’s pledge as “weasel words.”
“The US Defense Secretary’s admission that Shaker’s case isn’t even on his desk suggests that Obama’s claims to be ‘prioritizing’ it may be little more than weasel words,” Stafford Smith said in a statement.
“Coming just days after David Cameron personally requested that Shaker be returned home to Britain, it doesn’t say much for the state of the ‘special relationship.’”