Uruguay’s Foreign Minister, Rodolfo Nin Novoa, on Friday urged a former Guantanamo prisoner, Jihad Diyab, to call off his hunger strike, stating that Uruguay is attempting to transfer him to another country. Diyab is a Syrian national who was held for 12 years in Guantanamo without being formally charged and was released in 2014 [JURIST report] along with five other prisoners. Diyab started this strike two months ago demanding that he be reunited with his family. According to rights groups, Diyab is conscious although in weak physical condition. Novoa reiterated that his country will “continue looking for a better future for him and his family” and urged Diyab to abandon his hunger strike [Reuters report] immediately.
Last month Diyab was hospitalized [JURIST report] owing to his weak physical condition following the first month of his hunger strike. However, Diyab continued his hunger strike post his discharge from the hospital. Republican lawmakers who have been demanding President Barack Obama halt further transfers of Guantanamo prisoners often cite to Diyab’s movements [JURIST report] as an example of why such transfers present a security threat. Diyab was first transferred to Uruguay in 2014, but Uruguayan officials lost track of Diyab [NYT report] sometime around July of this year. The previous month Diyab had stated that he would be unreachable by phone or e-mail due to a religious retreat. Diyab was deported to Uruguay [Reuters report] after it was discovered that he had traveled through Brazil and Venezuela unauthorized. Republican lawmakers point out that the released detainees from Guantanamo are being placed in countries which lack the required oversight capabilities.