Guantanamo man charged with spying

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The Independent US

An American serviceman who worked as a translator at the Camp Delta prison for al-Qa'ida and Taliban terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay has been charged with spying, the Pentagon said yesterday.

Senior Airman Ahmad al-Halabi, who worked as an Arabic language translator at the camp in south-eastern Cuba where 660 people are in custody, was arrested two months ago. He is being held at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

He is facing 32 charges, including nine counts relating to espionage and others including disobeying orders and making false statements to officials.

According to a military spokesman, Airman Halabi knew Captain Yousef Yee, the Muslim chaplain at Guantanamo who was arrested earlier this month. But it was not clear last night whether the two cases were linked. Pentagon officials allege that classified information was discovered in the airman's laptop computer, for which he could give no satisfactory explanation.

The US government has classified the detainees as "illegal combatants", meaning they are not covered by the 1949 Geneva conventions on the treatment of prisoners of war.

In the 20 months of Camp Delta's existence, more than 30 detainees have attempted to commit suicide.

Captain Yee was arrested two weeks ago as he disembarked from a flight from Guantanamo Bay. He is being held at a US Navy prison. A military magistrate ruled there was enough evidence to hold him for up to two months while army investigators look into the case.