Guantánamo

South Africa turns away former hunger-striking Guantánamo detainee

In this May 5, 2015 photo, former Guantánamo detainee and sometime hunger striker Abu Wa’el Dhiab, a Syrian, sits in front of the U.S. embassy while visiting former fellow detainees demanding financial assistance from the U.S., in Montevideo, Uruguay.
In this May 5, 2015 photo, former Guantánamo detainee and sometime hunger striker Abu Wa’el Dhiab, a Syrian, sits in front of the U.S. embassy while visiting former fellow detainees demanding financial assistance from the U.S., in Montevideo, Uruguay. ASSOCIATED PRESS

Authorities in Uruguay say an unhappy former Guantánamo detainee has failed yet again in his attempt to find a new home in another country.

Presidential aide Juan Andres Roballo confirmed Saturday that Syrian native Abu Wa’el Dhiab, 45, has returned to the country because another country had refused to take him in.

Dhiab had boarded a flight for South Africa on Thursday and apparently was denied entry.

He’s one of six former Guantánamo prisoners who were accepted by Uruguay two years ago.

Dhiab was vocal about his unhappiness over being in Uruguay. Shortly after his arrival in 2014, he turned up in neighboring Argentina and denounced the U.S. failure to close Guantánamo. He has also protested outside the U.S. Embassy in Montevideo. Last July, he set off alarms when he vanished for several weeks, before turning up in Venezuela, which sent him back to Uruguay.

He was among six captives released from the U.S. base in Cuba in December 2014. In the instance of Dhiab, the Obama administration concluded he could not return to his homeland due to the civil war there. He had been detained for 12 years as an enemy combatant with suspected ties to militants but was never charged.

While at Guantánamo, he grabbed international attention through hunger strikes and frequently clashed with guards during his protest.

South Africa has never directly taken in a cleared Guantánamo captive for resettlement, although some activists in that country have said their government should negotiate with the Obama administration to do so.

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