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Judge Rules Spy Charges May Proceed

Tuesday, September 21, 2004; Page A07

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., Sept. 20 -- A military judge denied a motion to dismiss spy charges against a Syrian-American airman Monday despite defense arguments the government had failed to make a case over the past year.

Senior Airman Ahmad al Halabi, 25, is accused of carrying letters, jail maps and other documents from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where terrorism suspects are held.

Halabi has spent 10 months in prison pending trial, and 14 of the 30 original charges have already been dropped, as has the threat of the death penalty.

The Army has dropped charges against two others who also were stationed at Guantanamo: Army Capt. James Yee, a Muslim chaplain, and Army Reserve Col. Jackie Duane Farr, who was an intelligence officer and had been accused of trying to take classified material from the base.

The military recently admitted that the detainee letters that Halabi handled were not classified.

Halabi, a supply clerk, worked as an Arabic language translator at Guantanamo, where suspected al Qaeda and Taliban fighters are held, between November 2002 and July 2003.

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