Obama handed petition to free British detainee

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A 20,000-strong petition is to be presented to US President Barack Obama today to urge the release of a British detainee at Guantanamo Bay who has been held at the camp for exactly 11 years.

Shaker Aamer, 44, was taken to the notorious US detention centre on 14 February 2002 under suspicion of recruiting for and helping to finance terror group al-Qaeda.

Aamer has never been charged or tried with an offence and remains detained despite the US authorities approving him for transfer in 2009.

Through his lawyers, Aamer has alleged he was subjected to torture, including severe beatings and other ill-treatment, while held in secret US detention in Afghanistan and at Guantanamo.

Human rights organisation Amnesty International will take a petition to the US embassy in London today to urge Mr Obama to negotiate his release if he is not to be charged or face trial, and clarify conditions under which he will be returned to the UK.

Aamer’s case is also the subject of a similar campaign by Amnesty activists in the US, where a 28,000-strong petition has been raised.