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Ex-Gitmo Detainee Sweets

Ex-Gitmo detainee now selling sweets in Uruguay capital


MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) A bit of sweetness has entered the life of at least one of the men formerly held at the U.S. Guantanamo Bay prison camp.

Ahmed Ahjam opened a small stall selling Arabic pastries on Monday at a public market in the Uruguayan capital.

He is one of six former detainees accepted by Uruguay in 2014 after U.S. authorities decided they posed no threat but could not be sent to their homelands.

Ahjam and the others have struggled to adapt to the South American country, but the former jeweler from Syria says he learned to make sweets with recipes from his sisters and he has been earning money selling them at fairs and private events.

During the opening event Ahjam smiled while he handed out samples of ma'amul one of several desserts on display. Ma'amul is made of semolina flour filled with nuts and dried fruits.

Speaking in Spanish, Ahjam said that opening this new stall is the realization of one of his lifelong dreams, and thanked the Uruguayan people for supporting him.

Uruguayan officials helped him open the small new business.

Daniel Martinez, mayor of Montevideo, attended the ceremony on Monday and said that Ahjam was an excellent example of what happens when nations open up their hearts to immigrants.

Government subsidies for the six former detainees are scheduled to end this year.

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