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Ex-Guantanamo inmate declares hunger strike in Uruguay

A former Guantanamo inmate resettled in Uruguay in 2014 has declared a hunger strike after being deported from Venezuela in a failed attempt to reunite with his family in Turkey.



Montevideo: A former Guantanamo inmate resettled in Uruguay in 2014 has declared a hunger strike after being deported from Venezuela in a failed attempt to reunite with his family in Turkey.

Jihad Diyab, a 45-year-old Syrian, has clashed repeatedly with the authorities in Uruguay since being resettled here as a refugee nearly two years ago along with five other former Guantanamo detainees.

The six men have had a running dispute with the Uruguayan government over housing and living allowances, and Diyab says Uruguay is not doing enough to reunite him with his family.

He caused alarm in June when he went off the radar, apparently evading border control and sneaking into Venezuela.

He showed up at the Uruguayan consulate in Caracas in July asking to be taken to his family in Turkey. He was arrested and held in what his lawyer condemned as unacceptable conditions before being deported back to Uruguay on August 30.

Diyab told AFP he has been on hunger strike for about 20 days -- starting when he was jailed in Venezuela -- and has drunk no liquids for three days.

"Enough already," he said. "I`ve been here (in Uruguay) for a year and nine months, and they haven`t found a solution to my situation."

Uruguayan officials say Turkey has refused to allow Diyab entry and that they are trying to arrange for his family to be relocated to Uruguay.

Diyab says he would not be able to support them in Uruguay and wants to be resettled elsewhere.

He is a veteran hunger striker, having staged prolonged hunger strikes during his 12 years at Guantanamo to protest his detention.

He made international headlines when he launched an ultimately unsuccessful court case in the United States in an attempt to stop prison officials from force-feeding him.

Diyab and the other five ex-Guantanamo detainees were resettled in Uruguay as part of US President Barack Obama`s effort to fulfill his long-delayed promise to close the prison set up in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

Accused of terrorist links, the men -- four Syrians, a Palestinian and a Tunisian -- were never charged or tried. They had been cleared for release but could not be sent to their home countries because of unrest there.

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