LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to lobby U.S. President Barack Obama for the release of the last British resident held at Guantanamo Bay when he visits Washington this week, the detainee’s lawyer said on Wednesday.
Shaker Aamer, a Saudi who is married to a Briton, has not been charged with any crime and was cleared for release in 2007 from the U.S. naval base in Cuba. All British nationals and citizens have been released from the detention camp.
Obama has pledged to close Guantanamo, opened in 2002 to house suspected militants, but faces obstacles from Congress.
According to rights group Amnesty International, Aamer moved to Britain in 1996 and was in Afghanistan doing voluntary work for an Islamic charity when he was captured by Afghan Northern Alliance forces in 2001 and handed to the U.S. military.
Aamer’s lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, said Cameron had written to him in the last week to say he would raise the case with Obama. Stafford Smith said that was welcome but not enough.
“He has said this before and little has come of it. Rather than just raising Shaker’s case, Mr Cameron must come back from Washington with a concrete date for Shaker’s return home to London,” said Stafford Smith, director of the charity Reprieve.
Cameron and Obama will have a working dinner on Jan. 15 and a meeting in the Oval Office the following day, the White House said last week.
The Obama administration moved 28 prisoners out of Guantanamo Bay in 2014, the largest number since 2009, and further transfers are expected in coming weeks.
On Tuesday several U.S. Republican senators proposed legislation that would place a moratorium on the release of “medium- and high-risk detainees” however, saying they posed too much of a danger to the United States and its allies.
Editing by Louise Ireland