MONTEVIDEO (Reuters) - A former Guantanamo Bay prisoner arrived in Uruguay on Tuesday after being deported from Venezuela, where he set off alarm bells for traveling without proper documents and was detained earlier this month, a government official said.
Jihad Diyab was held for 12 years in Guantanamo without being charged and was released to Uruguay in 2014 in a deal to reduce the number of detainees at the U.S. military prison.
“He arrived early this morning,” Susana Muñiz, the director of Uruguayan health services said on local television, adding that he was being taken for a medical check-up.
The Syrian national had not been seen in Montevideo since mid-June and arrived in Caracas by way of Brazil in late July.
Diyab’s lawyer told Reuters earlier this month that he asked the Uruguayan consulate in Caracas to help him travel to Turkey where he was to meet with his family. But he was then arrested by Venezuelan security forces.
“He did not properly enter either Brazil or Venezuela, and was deported to Uruguay. He will continue to be treated as a refugee,” Uruguayan Interior Minister Eduardo Bonomi told local paper El País.
News that Diyab had left Uruguay led a group of U.S. lawmakers to demand that President Barack Obama halt transfers of Guantanamo prisoners, arguing that they represented a security risk to Americans.
Reporting by Matias Larramendi, writing by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by Alan Crosby