Guantanamo ex-inmates protest Uruguay’s ‘broken promises’


MONTEVIDEO (AFP) – Three former Guantanamo Bay inmates who were released to Uruguay last year protested in Montevideo on Friday over the South American country s “broken promises.”

The men are among six former detainees who attained refugee status and were transferred to Uruguay in December following 12 years without charge in the US military prison.

Standing outside the US embassy in the Uruguay capital, the men complained that they were suffering severe financialhardships and had been unable to see their families.

Syrian national Omar Mahmoud Faraj, 39, told reporters that his promised refugee monthly payment of about $560 did not come two weeks ago.

The Uruguayan government “promised many things, but so far these are only words,” he said.

“We came here because we are angry. It s been 15 years since I ve seen my family. How can they come here if I ve got nowhere to live?” he added, noting that two of the former prisoners had been evicted from a hotel for nonpayment.

The men said they planned to spend the night outside the embassy, which issued a statement saying that interview requestsshould be made “through the appropriate channels.”

Uruguay s then president Jose Mujica announced last year that the country would take in the inmates on “humanitarian grounds,” in a bid to help his US counterpart Barack Obama fulfill his long-delayed promise to close the prison set up in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

The men — comprising three Syrians, a Palestinian and a Tunisian, all in their 30s and 40s — were among the first detainees sent to Guantanamo in 2002.

Detained as part of the US “War on Terror” for alleged links to Al-Qaeda, they were never charged or tried.

They had been cleared for release, but the US ruled they could not be sent to their home countries for security reasons.



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