New Charges Against Guantanamo Chaplain
- JAMES YEE'S SUPPORTERS: WE'RE RELIEVED, OUTRAGED
Pueng Vongs, Pacific News Service, 11/26/03
Editor's Note: Captain James Yee, the Army chaplain at Guantanamo
Bay, was freed after spending almost 3 months in military prison on
espionage charges. But his release is bittersweet to his family and
supporters. Yee is now charged with downloading pornography and
adultery, charges many say are outrageous and false.
Joyful relatives and friends of Capt. James Yousef Yee, the former
Army chaplain at Guantanamo Bay who was accused of espionage,
welcomed his release after nearly three months in military prison,
but they lashed out at authorities for bringing new charges of
adultery and downloading pornography on a government-issued computer.
Deeply suspicious, Yee's supporters describe the new charges as an
attempt by the government to discredit the captain and cover up its
failure to produce a credible case against him. Yee was accused last
October of disobeying orders and stealing classified information on
behalf of suspected members of al Qaeda and Taliban he counseled in
the Guantanamo base prison
MUSLIM CHAPLAIN LET OUT OF PRISON, FACES NEW CHARGES
Ray Rivera and Janet I. Tu, Seattle Times, 11/26/03
An Army Muslim chaplain accused of mishandling classified documents
while serving at the U.S. prison camp in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, was
charged yesterday with making a false official statement, committing
adultery and storing pornography on his government computer.
The additional charges came on the same day Capt. James Yee was
released from a naval brig in South Carolina, where he had been held
since his arrest almost three months ago. An Army spokesman said the
commander determined there was "no reason to hold him."
Yee's defense team characterized the new charges as an attempt by the
military to salvage a deteriorating case against the chaplain,
formerly stationed at Fort Lewis.
"I don't know why the government would pursue these charges, except
for the fact that it's embarrassed by the implosion of charges it
originally asserted against my client," said Eugene Fidell, his lead
"This is so ludicrous," said Ibrahim Mohamed, board chairman of the
Seattle chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which
recently launched a campaign on behalf of Yee. "This is totally out
of character for a Muslim chaplain, a person who's dedicated his life
to teaching others about Islam. I hope this is not out of
desperation, that they're hoping to have anything that will stick "
MOTIVE FOR NEW CHARGES AGAINST MUSLIM CHAPLAIN QUESTIONED
(SEATTLE, WA, 11/25/03) - The Seattle chapter of the Council on
American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Seattle) tonight applauded the
release of Capt. James Yee pending trial, but questioned the
government's motives in bringing new charges that appear designed to
harm his reputation among supporters.
Yee, the former Muslim chaplain in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, was charged
Tuesday with adultery and storing pornography on a government
computer. He was detained in September and later charged with
mishandling classified documents in a case that initially portrayed
him as engaging in espionage.
Huda Sobuh, Captain Yee's wife, told CAIR-Seattle: "I believe
emphatically that my husband is innocent of all these charges. I
stand by him. It is clear to me the U.S. government only wants to
destroy his reputation and his family. They will not succeed."
"These new allegations, including as they do serious violations of
Islamic moral principles, have the odor of a smear campaign about
them," said Ibrahim Mohamed, CAIR-Seattle chairman. "A cynical person
might question the government's motivation for bringing these charges
after having failed to back up earlier leaks pointing to espionage
and support for terrorism."
"To bring adultery into a case that began with public allegations of
aiding the enemy is really outrageous, and the type of thing that can
give military justice a bad name," said Eugene Fidell, Yee's civilian
attorney. Fidell had asked President Bush to release Yee for the Eid
ul-Fitr holiday, which began Tuesday in most parts of the Muslim
world, marking the end of Ramadan.
CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, is
headquartered in Washington, D.C., and has 25 regional offices and
chapters nationwide and in Canada.
- END -
CONTACT: CAIR-Seattle, Samia El-Moslimany, 206-409-3407, E-MAIL:
samia@...; CAIR-National, Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787
or 202-744-7726, E-MAIL: cair@...
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