Man Who Was A Guantanamo Inmate For More Than A Decade Marries In Uruguay

Abdul bin Muhammad Abbas Ouerghi, a Tunisian man who spent over a decade at Guantanamo as an inmate, has married in Uruguay.

According to AFP, 49-year-old Ouerghi married Roma Blanco, a Uruguayan woman. The bride changed her name to Samira after converting to Islam.

Sources close to the former Guantanamo inmate say the ceremony did not go as originally planned. Ouerghi wanted to marry in a double-ceremony with another former Guantanamo inmate, but the plans did not work out. Ouerghi was released, without being charged or tried, to Uruguay with five other Guantanamo prisoners in December, 2014.

In May, 2015, Ouerghi took part in a demonstration in front of the United States embassy with three other former Guantanamo inmates and protested the conditions of their new home in Uruguay while insisting monetary reparations be given from the American government, according to RT. Ouerghi told RT why he was unhappy in Uruguay.

“I’m here in front of the U.S. embassy because when I was in Guantanamo I spoke to the Americans and I asked to be sent to my country but they said ‘no’. The only option was to come here to Uruguay. But then I came here [to Uruguay], I have no means, no house, my family is not here.”

Until February, 2016, the four Syrians, one Tunisian (Ouerghi), and one Palestinian were promised free housing and $600 per month by the Uruguayan authorities, according to RT.

Ouerghi didn’t want to be misunderstood or to sound ungrateful, but insisted that he needed more communication with the government that sent him to a country where he could barely speak the native language, Spanish.

“I’m really grateful to the Uruguayan government because they brought me here. But now I want to talk to the U.S. government because they sent me here with nothing, no information, nothing.”

Uruguay’s foreign minister, Rodolfo Nin Novoa, insisted he would help the former Guantanamo inmates to write a letter to the U.S. about their plight.

Since then, Ouerghi has refused to issue more statements about the situation, but he has spoken to Mauricio Pígola, a lawyer, according to Vice.

Marie Harf, spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, said the U.S. “has no obligation of providing a compensation” to the former Guantanamo inmates.

[Photo via AFP Photo / Dante Fernandez]