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article imageEx-Gitmo inmate in Uruguay exits coma, resumes hunger strike

By AFP     Sep 15, 2016 in World

A former Guantanamo inmate resettled in Uruguay but demanding to be reunited with his family has resumed a hunger strike after coming out of a coma, his doctor said Thursday.

Jihad Diyab, a 45-year-old Syrian, went into what doctors called a "light coma" Wednesday after more than 20 days of refusing food and liquids.

Dr Julia Galzerano said Diyab came out of his coma, then removed the IV tube through which health workers had been administering fluids.

"We saw him today. We examined him and explained what would happen if he removed his hydration tube. He listened very politely," she said, describing his condition as stable.

Diyab is being treated at his residence in the Uruguayan capital Montevideo after being transferred from hospital on Saturday, his second hospitalization in a week.

He began his hunger strike in a Venezuelan prison, where he was detained after leaving Uruguay undetected and showing up at the Uruguayan consulate in Caracas, demanding to be taken to his family in Turkey.

Venezuela deported him back to Uruguay, which he accuses of failing to do enough to reunite him with his family.

Diyab was one of six former Guantanamo inmates resettled in Uruguay as refugees in 2014, part of a deal with the United States aimed at helping close the controversial prison.

The six men have had a running dispute with the Uruguayan government over housing and living allowances.

Uruguayan authorities say they are trying to bring Diyab's family to Montevideo, but he says he would not be able to support them there and wants to be resettled elsewhere.

He is a veteran hunger striker, having staged prolonged hunger strikes during his 12 years at Guantanamo to protest his detention.

He made international headlines when he launched an ultimately unsuccessful court case in the United States in an attempt to stop prison officials from force-feeding him.

The six ex-Guantanamo detainees were resettled in Uruguay as part of US President Barack Obama's effort to fulfill his long-delayed promise to close the prison set up in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

Accused of terrorist links, the men -- four Syrians, a Palestinian and a Tunisian -- were never charged or tried. They had been cleared for release but could not be sent to their home countries because of unrest there.

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