This is the season of disappearing jihadis — in Florida, Arkansas and now Uruguay. One would think, given the high stakes involved, that law enforcement would pay closer attention. One would think wrong.
“Law enforcement searching for former Guantanamo detainee in South America,” by Missy Ryan, Washington Post, June 17, 2016:
A former Guantanamo Bay prisoner transferred to Uruguay in 2014 has vanished and is believed to have left the country under uncertain circumstances, U.S. officials said.
Law enforcement is now searching for the former detainee, Syrian national Jihad Ahmed Mustafa Dhiab, in Brazil, a U.S. official said.
“We are coordinating with officials in Brazil and Uruguay to determine his whereabouts,” the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive incident.
While the Obama administration declined to comment publicly about the case, officials believe that Dhiab may have crossed into Brazil without documents that would allow him to enter that country legally.
According to Uruguayan media, the country’s interior minister said on Thursday that while Dhiab would generally be free to make international trips, Brazilian officials had not allowed him to enter that country previously. The minister said Dhiab had left Uruguay but gave few other details.
If confirmed, the incident would intensify friction between the White House and Congress over resettlement of detainees remaining at the prison, a necessary step toward President Obama’s goal of shuttering the facility.
According to the Associated Press, another Uruguayan government official said that Dhiab traveled legally to Brazil. A spokesman for the Uruguayan embassy in Washington said he had no information on Dhiab’s status.
According to a military assessment made public by WikiLeaks, Dhiab was captured in Lahore, Pakistan, in 2002, and taken to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. While U.S. officials initially suspected him of having links to militants, he was never charged.
Dhiab spent 12 years at the top-security prison and become one of a number of detainees who launched hunger strikes to protest their detention.
In December 2014, Dhiab and five other prisoners of Middle Eastern and North African origin were transferred to Uruguay. The resettlement deal was seen as a breakthrough for efforts to empty the prison of detainees who were seen as posing little threat.
According to the military documents, Dhiab was born in Lebanon to an Argentine mother….