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UK cops to probe 'allegations of complicity to torture' prisoner at Guantanamo Bay

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This photo released by Shaker Aamer's family shows the Guantanamo Bay detainee holding two of his children. Aamer was arrested in Afghanistan in 2001 but has never been put on trial at Gitmo.

LONDON -- British police will examine allegations that U.K. intelligence officials were complicit in the alleged torture of a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay.

It could lead British detectives to ask the U.S. government for permission to interview Shaker Aamer at the detention center in Cuba.


Aamer's case is one of three that are to be considered by detectives with London's Metropolitan Police Service (MPS). The investigations are understood to include allegations against officials with Britain's MI6 and MI5 intelligence services. 

Despite President Obama's vow to shut down Guantanamo Bay, the nation's most expensive prison is undergoing some costly new updates that would allow the facility to remain open for years. NBC's Michael Isikoff reports.

The decision was made by a joint Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and Metropolitan Police panel. Earlier this year, the panel decided detectives should investigate claims of British involvement in the ill treatment of two Libyan men and their families.

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Aamer is the last remaining British national held at Guantanamo Bay. He says that he has been subjected to torture including sleep deprivation, stress positions and other forms of mistreatment.

The allegation is that British officials visited him, or asked questions, while aware of his treatment.

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Aamer is a Saudi Arabian citizen but is a legal permanent resident of the U.K. He is married to a British woman with four children living in London.

He was arrested in Afghanistan in 2001 and taken to Guantanamo Bay, he has never been put on trial there. He has long been cleared for release, according to the charity Reprieve.

John Moore / Getty Images

President Obama's one-year deadline to close the facility has long passed as shutting it down has proven complicated and controversial.

His U.S.-based lawyer Cori Crider told NBC News: "This is a positive development. What has happened to Shaker was appalling and we look forward to cooperating with the police."

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In a statement, the Crown Prosecution Service said: "On January 12, 2012, the DPP [Director of Public Prosecutions] announced that a joint CPS and MPS scoping panel would convene to assess a number of allegations of complicity to torture made against British officials.

"The panel has now had the opportunity to sit and, having assessed 12 cases, it has referred three to the MPS to consider further investigation. The MPS has decided to undertake further investigation into these three cases.

"Legal representatives for those making the allegations are aware of the panel's assessments and officers from the MPS are seeking, where possible, to meet with those that have made allegations in order to explain the individual decisions."

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