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Venezuela to return ex-Guantanamo prisoner Diyab to Uruguay

Diyab was detained by Venezuelan intelligence after travelling to Caracas in July
Former Guantanamo prisoner Jihad Diyab interviewed last year (Reuters)

A former prisoner at the US Guantanamo Bay military centre being held by Venezuela after going missing from Uruguay will be returned there on Sunday, a key mediator said.

Jihad Diyab - a 45-year-old Syrian who was resettled in Uruguay as a refugee in 2014 - was jailed at the headquarters of the Venezuelan secret police after going off Montevideo's radar and apparently evading border controls.

Held in Guantanamo for 12 years without charge, Diyab was released in 2014 from the US-run military prison in Cuba to Uruguay, along with five other former inmates.

"He will arrive in the coming hours" in Uruguay, said Christian Mirza, an intermediary between the Uruguayan government and the Guantanamo refugees.

"But his arrival will be kept secret to protect his security. We think he is very vulnerable," Mirza added.

On Saturday, a US-based human rights activist, Andres Conteris, told AFP that three independent sources, who asked to remain anonymous, said Diyab had begun a hunger strike after "learning that the foreign ministries of Venezuela and Uruguay negotiated his deportation to Uruguay."

Mirza indicated he had no information that Diyab was on a hunger strike and said that from what he knew Diyab was in good health. 

He said Diyab would undergo a medical checkup when he returns to Uruguay.

Diyab has said that he hopes to be sent to Turkey or another third country to reunite with his family.

Diyab has filed a lawsuit filed against US authorities for force-feeding prisoners on hunger strike in Guantanamo.

He was captured in 2002 near the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan.