Guantánamo

Freed Guantánamo detainee weds Uruguayan woman in religious ceremony

Newlywed Adel bin Muhammad el Ouerghi, right, a former Guantánamo inmate now resettled in Uruguay, poses with his bride, who converted to Islam and took on the name Samira, at their house in Montevideo, on June 6, 2015, a day after tying the knot .
Newlywed Adel bin Muhammad el Ouerghi, right, a former Guantánamo inmate now resettled in Uruguay, poses with his bride, who converted to Islam and took on the name Samira, at their house in Montevideo, on June 6, 2015, a day after tying the knot . AFP/GETTY IMAGES

A former Guantánamo Bay detainee on Friday married an Uruguayan woman who has converted to Islam, the first of two weddings being organized by men resettled in the South American country.

Roma Blanco, who was taking the name Samira, told The Associated Press that she and Adel bin Muhammad el Ouerghi, 49, would get a wedding license next week following a religious ceremony Friday afternoon at an apartment in Montevideo. Blanco, who is 24, said she converted to Islam four months ago and had met the Tunisian Ouerghi at a mosque last month.

“Adel is humble, respectful, nice and very gentlemanly,” she said in a phone interview. “He is everything that a woman can expect from a man.”

Uruguay requires a license for a union to be recognized. Also, the priest or other person officiating can be punished for overseeing a ceremony if a license hasn’t been obtained.

Fatima Posadas, another Uruguayan woman who converted to Islam, told the AP Thursday that she and Syrian husband-to-be Omar Abdelhadi Faraj, about 39, also had not yet obtained a license. Posadas said she and Faraj planned to wed next week.

She blamed harassment by the media.

The two men and four others were resettled in Uruguay in December after nearly 13 years at the U.S. military prison in Cuba. They were detained in Afghanistan in 2002 with alleged ties to al-Qaida.

By their own admission, the men have struggled to adjust in Uruguay, a nation of 3.3 million people. They have frequently complained that Uruguay hasn’t done enough to help.

Four of the men recently staged a nearly month-long protest outside the U.S. Embassy in Montevideo to demand that the American government compensate them for their years in prison.

Problems aside, Faraj and El Ouerghi have frequently expressed a desire to wed and start families in Uruguay.

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