Shaker Aamer was born on 21 December 1966 in Medina, Saudi Arabia. In 1985, at the age of 17, he left his country and travelled the United States, Europe, and the Middle East, and in 1989 and 1990 he studied in Georgia and Maryland. During the Gulf War, he served as a translator for the US Army while they fought Iraq in Kuwait, and in 1996 he moved to the United Kingdom. In 2001, he took his family to Afghanistan, claiming that he was going to work for an Islamic charity. Aamer was said to have been a recruiter and financier for Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda organization, and intelligence reports stated that he led a unit of fighters at the Battle of Tora Bora. On 24 November 2001 the Northern Alliance captured him and turned him over to the Americans, who sent him to Guantanamo Bay in 2002. Aamer was tortured there, and he went on a forty-day hunger strike on one occasion. Aamer lost 40% of his body weight and gradually lost his health and even slowly decreased his mental capacity, so on 30 October 2015 he was finally released after 14 years in prison without being charged.