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Charges Dropped in Guantanamo Case

Intelligence officer was one of three U.S. service members once suspected of security breaches.

September 17, 2004|From Reuters

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army has dropped all charges against a colonel who served as an intelligence officer at the Guantanamo Bay naval base prison and had been accused of trying to take classified material from the base, officials said Thursday.

Army Reserve Col. Jackie Duane Farr was the highest-ranking of three U.S. service members charged in 2003 in connection with suspected security breaches at the base in Cuba, where the United States is holding about 585 foreign terrorism suspects.

All charges have been dropped against Farr as well as Army Capt. James Joseph Yee, a Muslim chaplain who ministered to prisoners, while the prosecution case against Air Force Senior Airman Ahmad I. Al-Halabi, an Arabic language translator, has run into numerous troubles.

The Army dropped charges against Farr of disobeying an order by transporting classified material without the proper security container, and of making a false statement during an investigation, said Army Maj. Hank McIntire, a spokesman at the Guantanamo base.

Instead, Army Brig. Gen. Jay Hood, commander of the Guantanamo prison, on Aug. 27 imposed "nonjudicial punishment" in an administrative proceeding, McIntire said.

The charges were dropped "to more quickly resolve the matter to serve the best interests of the military and Col. Farr," McIntire said.

McIntire declined to reveal the nature of the punishment, citing the Privacy Act.

The Army has approved Yee's resignation effective in January and will grant him an honorable discharge, said Eugene R. Fidell, Yee's lawyer.

In March, the Army abandoned a criminal case against Yee that once included accusations of spying, mutiny, sedition, aiding the enemy and espionage.

Military prosecutors have dropped 14 of 30 charges brought against Al-Halabi. Hearings on motions before his planned court-martial at Travis Air Force Base in California are scheduled next week.

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