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article imageFasting ex-Gitmo inmate in danger: Uruguay doctor

By AFP     Oct 13, 2016 in World

A former Guantanamo inmate resettled in Uruguay is refusing liquids and risks dying from a hunger strike he launched to demand his transfer to another country, his doctor said Thursday.

Jihad Diyab, who began his hunger strike 63 days ago, has worsened since early Tuesday, when he stopped drinking fluids as well, said Julia Galzerano of the Uruguayan Medical Union.

She said the 45-year-old Syrian had decided not to receive medical care if he goes into a coma, as he did briefly last month.

"The decision was set out in a notarized protocol," she told AFP.

Galzerano said human beings can survive around 100 days without food but only seven days without liquids.

Rights activist Ana de Bittencourt, part of a group called Vigil for Jihad Diyab, said the former detainee was losing mobility, in pain and wasting away.

The hunger strike "has consumed all his fat, and now it's consuming his muscles," she told AFP outside Diyab's apartment in the Uruguayan capital Montevideo.

Diyab is one of six former Guantanamo inmates resettled in Uruguay as refugees in 2014, part of a deal with the United States to help close the controversial prison set up in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

The men have repeatedly clashed with the Uruguayan authorities over their living allowances and housing, and complain of feeling isolated in the Spanish-speaking country, which has virtually no Muslim population.

Diyab is asking to be transferred elsewhere and reunited with his family, saying he does not have the means to support them in Uruguay.

He began his hunger strike in August 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 Turkey.

Uruguay says it is seeking another country to take him in. But Bittencourt questioned why it has had so little success.

"No visa for Jihad has appeared. And in the countries where he doesn't need a visa or has the necessary documents (such as Venezuela), they send him back," she said.

"That kind of thing makes us think something's going on, that Jihad isn't a free man."

Diyab has requested a copy of Uruguay's agreement with the United States on his resettlement.

Uruguay, which has not published the deal, says he has the right to travel like any other resident.

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