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Ex-UK Guantanamo detainee denounces extremism

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LONDON (AP) — The last British resident held at Guantanamo Bay has denounced extremism in his first interview since being released in October.

Shaker Aamer told the Mail on Sunday that extremists "can get the hell out" if they are that angry with Britain. He sharply criticized recent attacks, such as the 2013 stabbing of a British soldier and the recent knife attack at an east London subway station now being investigated by the police counter terror unit.

"How can you give yourself the right to be living here in this country, and living with the people and acting like you are a normal person, and then you just walk in the street and try to kill people?" he was quoted as saying.

Aamer, 48, arrived in Britain in October after spending nearly 14 years as a prisoner at the U.S. facility in Cuba.

He has said he went to Afghanistan to help run a school for girls, fleeing during the chaos following the U.S. invasion in late 2001. Captured by the Northern Alliance, he was turned over to U.S. forces who took him to Guantanamo in February 2002.

The U.S. Defense Department has said he shared an apartment in the late 1990s with Zacarias Moussaoui, who was convicted of taking part in the Sept. 11 conspiracy and that he received a stipend from Osama bin Laden. A detainee assessment published by Wikileaks described Aamer as a member of al-Qaida.

Aamer has denied the allegations and he was never charged. He was freed after a task force appointed by President Barack Obama conducted a "comprehensive review" of his case.

Aamer, a Saudi citizen who married a British woman and moved to London in the mid-1990s, has alleged he was tortured while in custody — and that British intelligence authorities were aware of that. He was held in solitary confinement for 360 days.

Though critics have claimed he had questions to answer, he stressed that Islam did not allow the killing of civilians. He expressed concern on the recent clash between some Muslims and non-Muslims.

"It helps their (extremists) cause... if you keep looking at people like they are terrorists before they do anything, then you will push them towards violence," he was quoted as saying.

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