Ex-Guantanamo inmates end U.S. Embassy protest in Uruguay

Reuters News
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Posted: May 19, 2015 8:39 PM

MONTEVIDEO (Reuters) - Former Guantanamo Bay prisoners resettled in Uruguay ended a three-week protest outside the U.S. Embassy on Tuesday after reaching a deal with their hosts for financial and medical support in return for learning Spanish and seeking job training.

The six former prisoners were sent to the South American country in December as part of a push by President Barack Obama to close the U.S. military prison in Cuba.

Late last month, three of the six set up a tented camp outside the U.S. mission in the Uruguayan capital Montevideo in protest at the lack of economic support they were receiving.

In the end, five of the six agreed to the terms of the accord, which will see them receive the equivalent of $560 a month, plus medical assistance and rent.

"What they are signing is a letter of intent, though not a contract, which contains both their rights as well as their duties," said Christian Adel Mirza, who led negotiations between the former prisoners and the government.

"They have to learn Spanish, and they have to retrain because they were captured young, before they could develop a career or a profession," Mirza said.

Syrian nationals Ahmed Adnan Ahjam, Ali Hussain Shaabaan and Omar Mahmoud Faraj, Tunisian Abdul Bin Mohammed Abis Ourgy and Palestinian national Mohammed Tahanmatan accepted the conditions offered by Uruguay.

A fourth Syrian, Jihad Diyab, did not sign because he hopes to leave the country, Mirza said.

(Reporting by Malena Castaldi; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Ken Wills)