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Guantanamo Arrest Was Justified, Magistrate Rules

October 18, 2003|From Reuters

BOSTON — The U.S. government had enough evidence to charge a civilian translator at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp who was carrying hundreds of "secret" documents when he was arrested last month, a federal magistrate ruled.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles Swartwood said federal prosecutors had sufficient reason to accuse Ahmed Fathy Mehalba of lying to federal officials about the classified data he had when he arrived in the United States from Egypt on Sept. 29.

Mehalba, who worked as a translator at the U.S. naval base in Cuba where some 660 suspected Al Qaeda and Taliban members are being held without charges, told customs inspectors at Boston's Logan International Airport that he was not carrying any classified documents.

Mehalba, a naturalized U.S. citizen, was arrested and charged with making false statements after inspectors found alleged classified information stored on a computer disk in his luggage.

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