WASHINGTON – The United States has said that it has no “obligation”, under U.S. law, to financially compensate the six former Guantanamo inmates who were moved to Uruguay last December.
These prisoners were held without trial for more than a decade at the infamous Guantanamo Bay prison, in Cuba.
The U.S. Department of State spokesperson Marie Harf, responded Thursday to requests for economic assistance from four of the six Guantanamo ex-prisoners, who have been camping outside the U.S. Embassy in Montevideo since last Friday.
“As a general matter under the law of war, there is no obligation to provide direct compensation to individuals detained under the law of war for their detention,” Harf said at a press conference.
Though Harf did not comment on the matter any further, she did not completely rule out the possibility of the U.S. compensating them despite them not being obligated to do so.
The Syrians Ali Shabaan, Faraj and Ahmed; and Abdul from Tunisia are currently camped outside the American embassy in Montevideo, asking for the necessities to “lead a normal life as human beings” and demanding better economic condition for themselves in the country, after a 13-year-long imprisonment.
The group of former detainees shares a house to live in, but without signing a document given by the Ecumenical Service for Human Dignity -which represents the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees-, they are not entitled to the $560 compensation given by Uruguayan government.
Besides the four protesters outside the embassy, another Syrian former inmate Ahmad Jihad Diyab has refused to sign the document as a sign of protest.
The Uruguayan Ministry of Foreign Affairs has appointed Christian Mirza as a mediator to resolve the issue.
On Thursday, the four former prisoners sent their claims in writing to the Uruguayan government in order to reach an agreement on the matter.
“The primary requirement is to set in detail their benefits and obligations that they will have in the country, under the refugee program,” their lawyer Mauricio Pigola told Efe in Montevideo Thursday.