CA: Spy Charges Dropped Against Airman


RAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., Sept 22 (Reuters) - The U.S. military
dropped spy charges on Wednesday against a Syrian-American airman who
worked as a translator at the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in
the latest in a series of embarrassing legal setbacks for the government.

The government had alleged that a spy ring was at work at the base where
prisoners captured during the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan and other
terrorism suspects are being held.

In a plea deal the government dropped the spying charges after Senior
Airman Ahmad al Halabi, 25, pleaded guilty to four lesser charges,
officials said.

The military earlier dropped charges against a Muslim chaplain, James Yee,
who had also been accused of espionage at Guantanamo, and Army Reserve Col.
Jackie Duane Farr, who served as an intelligence officer and had been
accused of trying to take classified material from the base.

Halabi had been accused of carrying letters, jail maps and other documents
from the prison. He spent ten months in prison pending trial and 14 of the
30 original charges had already been dropped, as had the threat of the
death penalty.

The charges he pleaded guilty to included taking two photographs in
Guantanamo, wrongfully transporting a classified document to his living
quarters, lying about taking photographs and conduct prejudicial to
military discipline...

Halabi told the judge that he did not know about military restrictions on
taking pictures and transporting documents, but the judge said that was not
a defense

 


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