MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay — A resettled Guantanamo prisoner who went missing for weeks and later resurfaced in Venezuela has now been deported back to Uruguay, authorities in the South American country said Tuesday.
Syrian native Abu Wa’el Dhiab “has arrived and is well,” said Christian Mirza, the Uruguayan government-appointed liaison with the former Guantanamo prisoners. Mirza said authorities planned to talk with him in the coming hours.
Dhiab was among six former Guantanamo prisoners who were resettled in Uruguay after being released by U.S. authorities in 2014.
When Dhiab went missing in July, it alarmed neighboring countries and brought recriminations from U.S. lawmakers. Dhiab later popped up in the Venezuelan capital.
The disappearance raised questions about how closely countries that resettle former Guantanamo inmates should watch them, and for how long, as the United States prepares to release more prisoners.
Dhiab was deported back to Uruguay early Tuesday, Mirza said.
Foreign Minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa told local radio Universal that Dhiab is not suffering from any clinical condition, but was being checked at a hospital in Montevideo as a precautionary measure.
After being seen along the border with Brazil, Dhiab left Uruguay at the beginning of July without passing through immigration control points. He showed up on July 27 at the Uruguayan consulate in Caracas, where he expressed his intention to travel to Turkey or another third country in hopes of reuniting with his family.
“He clearly expressed that in no case was it his interest to return to Uruguay, but he required the help of our country” to reach his aim, a statement from the Uruguayan foreign ministry said.
In an earlier interview with the weekly newsmagazine Busqueda, Dhiab said he was never a terrorist but that he later came to sympathize with al-Qaida because of the harsh treatment he received at Guantanamo. He also accused Uruguay of breaking its commitment to bring his family.
The six former Guantanamo prisoners — four Syrians, a Tunisian and a Palestinian — arrived in Uruguay in December 2014 as a humanitarian gesture by then-President Jose Mujica.