Soldier accused of leaking secrets to Iran

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A British soldier has been accused of divulging secret information to Iran about the military campaign in Afghanistan.

Daniel James, 44, was charged under the Official Secrets Act at the City of Westminster magistrates court of giving information "calculated to be directly or indirectly useful to the enemy". Mr James, who was dressed smartly in a quilted jacket, spoke to confirm his name and date of birth before the charge was read to him.

The charge relates to an incident on 2 November this year, and is under section one (1) (C), of the Official Secrets Act 1911. No further details about the allegations were released and reporters were asked to leave the court as the hearing was continued in camera.

After allowing reporters back into court, Judge Timothy Workman said: "I have been given certain information which leads me to the conclusion that it will be necessary to hear certain facts in camera as there is a possible prejudice to national security."

The hearing then continued in camera again. After a long break period in camera, the hearing was reopened to members of the media. Judge Workman said he had heard "detailed submissions" and he was satisfied that, if these were made public, there would be a risk of prejudice to national security.

The prosecution, he said, were asking for a remand to obtain the Attorney General's consent for the prosecution. Mr James was remanded in custody until 27 December. There was no application for bail.

Iran has a strategic interest in Afghanistan, which is the base for 6,000 British troops who are part of a Nato force that is supporting the Afghan government against a resurgent Taliban.