Ex-Guantanamo detainee in Uruguay flies to South Africa

MONTEVIDEO (Reuters) - A former Guantanamo prisoner who was resettled in Uruguay but has asked to leave flew to South Africa on Thursday as a tourist, a Uruguayan official said on Friday.

Once in South Africa, Jihad Diyab, a Syrian National, would have to return to Uruguay in 90 days or find another country to give him residency, the official said.

“He left the country on his way to Johannesburg with a stopover in Buenos Aires, paying his own way,” said Christian Mirza, the government’s liaison with former detainees.

Diyab was held for 12 years in the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, without being charged and was released along with five other prisoners to Uruguay in 2014 to reduce the number of detainees.

Earlier this year, Diyab traveled through Brazil and Venezuela and was held briefly by Venezuela’s intelligence agency after arriving in Caracas in July. While there a lawyer said he asked the Uruguayan consulate to help him travel to Turkey, where he wanted to be reunited with his family.

He was deported back to Uruguay in late August and was on a hunger strike for 68 days in Montevideo, demanding to be resettled.

Uruguay has agreed to extend financial assistance to the detainees remaining in the country for another year.

Reporting by Malena Castaldi; Writing by Caroline Stauffer; Editing by Andrew Hay