Ex-Guantánamo detainee wants to discuss future with Uruguay government

Abu Wa’el Dhiab, 43, in Montevideo, Uruguay, after his release from Guantánamo.
Abu Wa’el Dhiab, 43, in Montevideo, Uruguay, after his release from Guantánamo. THE WASHINGTON POST

A former Guantánamo Bay detainee who held hunger strikes as a prisoner and was resettled in Uruguay along with five other former Pentagon captives is requesting a meeting with Uruguay’s foreign minister to talk about the men’s future in the South American country.

Syrian Abu Wa’el Dhiab said Monday he had requested a meeting with Foreign Minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa to speak “about everything here.”

Dhiab declined to confirm a Washington Post report on Saturday that quoted him as saying he planned a hunger strike outside the U.S. Embassy. At Guantánamo, he was described as one of the prisoners most committed hunger strikers, and at one point sued the U.S. government over his forced-feedings.

“I don’t know if I’m going to do hunger strike,” Dhiab told the Associatd Press. “I will talk about this after the meeting.”

Dhiab and five other former detainees were resettled in Uruguay in December.

Calls to the foreign ministry seeking comment were not immediately returned. A call and email messages to Dhiab’s lawyer were also not immediately returned.

As a humanitarian gesture, President Jose Mujica invited the six men to resettle here, offering financial and social services support. However, by their own admission, the men have struggled to adjust, and on several occasions have complained about not getting enough help from the Uruguayan government.

They each receive a monthly stipend of $600 from the government and live in a house provided by a union that is overseeing several aspects of their resettlement.

In early February, a controversy erupted when people in Uruguay, a country of 3.3 million, learned that the men had been offered jobs but did not take them.

See the Miami Herald Guantánamo hunger strike tracker here.