At his first public appearance since his exoneration on espionage charges, Army Capt. James Yee, a Muslim chaplain, thanked his supporters but steered clear of speaking about his case.

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

Lee, restricted by a gag order limiting his ability to talk about the case or criticize the Army, appeared Friday night at a Chinatown benefit to raise money to help him cover his legal bills.

“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 last 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 then was found guilty of the noncriminal Army charges of adultery and downloading pornography. The reprimand he received was thrown out by an Army general a month later.

Yee has garnered nationwide support, particularly among the Asian-American and Muslim-American communities”¦


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