Shaker Aamer, the last remaining UK prisoner in Guantánamo Bay prison, will be released and allowed to return home, a British government spokesperson announced Friday.

Aamer, 46, a Saudi citizen and UK resident, has been held at the U.S. military base in Cuba for 13 years without charge and has twice been cleared to go home. A report last month revealed that the Pentagon had been actively blocking his release, despite participating in one of the federal reviews that found he posed no threat to national security and could be returned home.

Reprieve attorney Clive Stafford Smith, who represents Aamer, said the most likely date for Aamer’s return is October 25, absent “robust intervention” by the UK government.

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“This is great news, albeit about 13 years too late,” Smith said. “The UK must demand of President [Barack] Obama that he should be on a plane tomorrow, so that Shaker’s family do not have to endure more of the agony of waiting, uncertain every time a phone rings.”
“Shaker Aamer’s case is a symbol of Guantánamo’s utter failure.”
—Steven W. Hawkins, Amnesty International