Guantánamo

Freed Guantánamo prisoners get ‘typical’ Montevideo house

Five of the six men chosen for resettlement in Uruguay had prison camp photos on their U.S. military dossiers provided to McClatchy Newspapers by the anti-secrecy WikiLeaks group. They are from top left: Syrian Ahmed Adnan Ahjam, 37; Syrian Abu Wa'el Dhiab, 43; Syrian Abdelhadi Faraj, born in either 1975 or 1981, according to Guantánamo records. On the bottom: Tunisian Adel Bin Mohammed Ouerghi, 49; Syrian Ali Hussein al Shaaban, 32; Palestinian Mohammed Taha Matan, born in 1975 in the West Bank.
Five of the six men chosen for resettlement in Uruguay had prison camp photos on their U.S. military dossiers provided to McClatchy Newspapers by the anti-secrecy WikiLeaks group. They are from top left: Syrian Ahmed Adnan Ahjam, 37; Syrian Abu Wa'el Dhiab, 43; Syrian Abdelhadi Faraj, born in either 1975 or 1981, according to Guantánamo records. On the bottom: Tunisian Adel Bin Mohammed Ouerghi, 49; Syrian Ali Hussein al Shaaban, 32; Palestinian Mohammed Taha Matan, born in 1975 in the West Bank. WikiLeaks

The six men released from the U.S. detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to Uruguay will live in a house in Montevideo with no additional security measures, a Uruguayan union leader said.

The U.S. on Dec. 6 released the six to Uruguay after the South American nation’s President José Mujica agreed to offer them asylum. They were held at the U.S. military detention facility for more than a decade.

“We have a proper house to welcome the six men for one or two months, which is the time it will take for them to be reintegrated into society,” Fernando Gambera, a leader of the private workers’ union that agreed to provide them with housing and try to find them jobs, said by phone from Montevideo.

“The place has enough room and it’s no different from a typical house in Montevideo. No one said it should have more security or high walls.”

Mujica, a former guerrilla fighter, agreed earlier this year to resettle the detainees. The releases are part of a push by U.S. President Barack Obama to accelerate transfers of detainees at Guantánamo, which now holds 136 prisoners.

The U.S. government conducted an inter-agency review to determine whether the detainees sent to Uruguay met the standards for release, including whether they posed a security threat, according to a statement issued by the Defense Department.

Uruguay’s Interior Minister Eduardo Bonomi told reporters on Dec. 8 the former prisoners would be provided with some security to protect them from intruders, adding they don’t pose a threat. The presidential press office declined to comment when asked by phone about their security.

‘New Life’

One of those released was Jihad Diyab, a Syrian held for 12 years without trial, who went on several hunger strikes and challenged his force-feeding in court.

Uruguay’s government has given the men clothes and along with the union will provide a stipend for food, Gambera said. The government will give the men lessons in Spanish and has begun the process of relocating their families from Syria, Palestine and Tunisia, Gambera said.

“The arrival of the family will be a turning point,” Gambera said. “They will have to move. We are here to be a bridge between now and their new life.”

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