US

Ex-Guantanamo detainee leaves Uruguay for South Africa

FILE - In this May 5, 2015 file photo, Abu Wa'el Dhiab, from Syria, sits in front of the U.S. embassy while visiting former fellow detainees demanding financial assistance from the U.S., in Montevideo, Uruguay. Ending a two-year struggle to leave Uruguay, former Guantanamo detainee Abu Wa'el Dhiab left the South American country on Thursday, Dec. 15, for Johannesburg, South Africa, said Christian Mirza, Dhiab's former government liaison. (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico, File)

FILE - In this May 5, 2015 file photo, Abu Wa'el Dhiab, from Syria, sits in front of the U.S. embassy while visiting former fellow detainees demanding financial assistance from the U.S., in Montevideo, Uruguay. Ending a two-year struggle to leave Uruguay, former Guantanamo detainee Abu Wa'el Dhiab left the South American country on Thursday, Dec. 15, for Johannesburg, South Africa, said Christian Mirza, Dhiab's former government liaison. (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico, File)  (The Associated Press)

A former Guantanamo detainee who had resettled in Uruguay left the South American country for South Africa on Thursday, ending a two-year campaign to be allowed to go.

Christian Mirza, who had been the government liaison for six ex-Guantanamo prisoners resettled in Uruguay nearly two years ago, said Syrian native Abu Wa'el Dhiab had taken a flight to Johannesburg.

Dhiab had long been vocal about his unhappiness over being in Uruguay. Shortly after his arrival in 2014, he turned up in neighboring Argentina and denounced the U.S. failure to close Guantanamo. He has also protested outside the U.S. Embassy in Montevideo. Last July, he set off alarms when he vanished for several weeks, before turning up in Venezuela, which sent him back to Uruguay.

Dhiab briefly fell into a coma during a hunger strike in September and was hospitalized twice.

The 45-year-old Syrian was released from the U.S. base in Cuba in December 2014, but could not return to his homeland due to the civil war there. He had been detained for 12 years as an enemy combatant with suspected ties to militants but was never charged.

While at Guantanamo, he grabbed international attention through hunger strikes and frequently clashed with guards during his protest.