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Uruguay offers to bring family of striking ex-Gitmo detainee

FILE - In this May 5, 2015 file photo, former Guantanamo detainee Abu Wa'el Dhiab, from Syria, sits in front of the U.S. embassy while visiting former fellow detainees demanding financial assistance from the U.S., in Montevideo, Uruguay. Uruguay’s government is offering to bring Dhiab's family to the South American country so they can reunite. The Uruguayan foreign ministry said in a letter Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016 that the visas and expenses to bring Dhiab’s family have been approved. (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico)
October 11, 2016 - 1:26 PM

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay - Uruguay's government on Tuesday offered to bring the family of a hunger striking former Guantanamo prisoner to the South American country.

Syrian native Abu Wa'el Dhiab has been on a hunger strike for more than two months to press his demands to leave Uruguay, which took him in along with five other former Guantanamo prisoners in 2014. He wants to join his wife and children in Turkey, where they are refugees, or in another nation.

The Uruguayan foreign ministry said in a letter Tuesday that the visas to bring Dhiab's family have been approved and that they will be offered a place to live. But Dhiab's friend, Andres Conteris, said the government proposal makes no sense because Dhiab and his family want to meet abroad after broken promises to reunite them by Uruguay.

Conteris also said Dhiab is getting rehydration solution after he lost consciousness Monday in the apartment where he's living in Montevideo.

"He has asked the government for letters that he can present to Venezuela, Turkey, Lebanon and Qatar stating that Uruguay has no inconvenient with these countries taking him in," Conteris said. "If he gets the letters, he'll lift the hunger strike."

Uruguay's liaison with the six resettled detainees has said that Lebanon, Qatar and Turkey have all rejected taking in Dhiab.

Dhiab grabbed international attention through hunger strikes during his 12 years of confinement. He was released from Guantanamo in December 2014, but he could not return to his war-torn homeland and was taken in as a refugee by Uruguay. In July, he set off alarms when he vanished for several weeks, before turning up in Venezuela, which sent him back to Uruguay.

News from © The Associated Press, 2016
The Associated Press

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