In the first public appearance since his exoneration, a Muslim Army chaplain who had been suspected of espionage thanked supporters of civil liberties.

James Yee was arrested last year in a probe of suspected espionage at the U.S. military’s detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He was imprisoned for 76 days before all charges against him were dropped.

He appeared Friday night at a Chinatown benefit to raise money for his legal bills, although a gag order limited his ability to talk about the case.

“I’m not here tonight to talk about my case, but to thank those who stand in support of civil liberties,” Yee said. “I thank everyone for their patience, and God willing, they’ll be able to hear my story.”

Yee, 35, ministered to prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, where the military is holding suspected Muslim terrorists. He was arrested in September carrying what authorities said were classified documents.

In March, Army officials dismissed all criminal charges against him, saying national security concerns prevented them from seeking a court-martial in open court.

Yee was then found guilty of the non-criminal Army charges of adultery and downloading pornography. The reprimand he received was thrown out by an Army general a month later.

Yee’s case has garnered nationwide support, particularly among the Asian-American and Muslim-American communities.

“James Yee would not have been targeted if it were not for this heightened hysteria against Muslims,” said Wayne Lum, an Asian-American community activist…


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