Palestinian ex-Guantanamo Prisoner Arrives in Argentina, Causing Alarm, Report Says

'In these cases, seeing that he already arrived in Mendoza, we can only watch out for any suspicious activity,' border police says

U.S. Navy guards escort a detainee through Camp Delta at Guantanamo Bay naval base, June 10, 2008.
\ REUTERS

A Palestinian man who was a prisoner in Guantanamo Bay for alleged connections to Hamas arrived in Mendoza, Argentina last week, causing frenzy among locals, according to the Argentinian newspaper La Nacion.

Born in the West Bank, Mohammed Tahamatan, 38, was imprisoned in Guantanamo in 2002, and then granted refugee status in Uruguay in 2004 with five other former prisoners.

Argentina's federal agency of intelligence was made aware of Tahamatan's journey to Argentina from Uruguay, though local police and the border police were not notified.

The Aconcagua provincial park in the Mendoza province, February 2, 2013.
AFP

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"We weren't even asked to collaborate, or given a statement," the police told Los Andes, the Mendoza newspaper.

"In these cases, seeing that he already arrived in Mendoza, we can only watch out for any suspicious activity," border police said.

Tahamatan is one of 15 siblings. On September 28, 2001, he made a drastic decision to change his life forever and escape the poverty and violence of his land, the paper reported. He attempted to get to Afghanistan, but never made it.

Tahamatan first arrived in Pakistan, while on his way to Afghanistan, where he was told to ask for temporary asylum in a residential home for Arab students. Pakistani forces raided the home and then detained him, later referring him to the U.S. prison in Cuba. 

In Uruguay, he married an Uruguayan psychologist who studied Islamic culture.