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  HOME | Uruguay

Former Guantanamo Prisoners Leave Hospital in Uruguay

MONTEVIDEO – Six former Guantanamo detainees accepted in Uruguay as refugees have left the Armed Forces Hospital where they underwent exams and are staying in temporary lodgings provided by the PIT CNT labor confederation.

“We believe that in two or three months they will be able to move around the country, adapt and live untroubled,” PIT CNT international relations secretary Gabriel Molina told Efe on Thursday.

The labor federation will look after the men until they find paying jobs, Molina said, adding that some companies have already expressed interest in hiring the refugees.

The PIT CNT approached the government of President Jose Mujica with an offer to take care of the men – four Syrians, one Palestinian and one Tunisian who arrived in Montevideo on Sunday – until “they adapt to the country.”

Uruguay’s deputy foreign minister, Luis Porto, said the Refugee Law prohibits disclosure of information about the six men released from the U.S. detention facility in Guantanamo, Cuba.

To protect their privacy, authorities arranged for the former detainees to leave the hospital in the wee hours.

Molina urged the media “to leave them in peace.”

Some of the refugees have expressed their intent to bring their families to Uruguay.

In a statement issued Tuesday, the PIT CNT expressed solidarity with the former prisoners, “who have not been accused of any illegal act, and who have suffered many years of imprisonment and physical and psychological aggression.”

“We support the decision of President Mujica and his government decision to open the doors to these citizens,” the statement said. “Steps of this kind are in line with some of the labor movement’s most cherished values, such as solidarity.”

The Uruguayan labor confederation has also provided assistance to Syrian families who recently came to the country as refugees from their country’s civil war.

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