Prison camp worker the third to be arrested in US hunt for spy ring at Guantanamo

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The Independent US

The investigation into a possible security leak and spy ring at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp took a new turn when another translator became the third person to be arrested by federal officials.

Ahmed Mehalba, a civilian employed as a translator on a contract basis, was arrested at Boston's Logan on his arrival from Cairo, after Customs agents apparently discovered a CD containing classified information about the prison camp. The FBI was called in and Mr Mehalba, who denied the documents were his, was arrested on charges of making false statements. The naturalised US citizen of Egyptian descent was held in Boston and was due to appear in court yesterday.

The arrest of Mr Mehalba is the third in recent weeks involving people working at the base where around 660 alleged Taliban and al-Qa'ida prisoners are being held. Mr Mehalba is the second translator at the base on Cuba to be arrested. Senior US Airman Ahmad al-Halabi, 24, of Detroit, Michigan has been charged with spying for Syria after he was found to have classified information on a computer in violation of security rules. Army Islamic chaplain James Yee has also been held in a military jail in South Carolina since 10 September, but has not yet been charged. Assistant US Attorney Michael Ricciuti refused to discuss the latest arrest.

Mr Mehalba's arrest came as the European Parliament heard calls for the EU to lobby the Bush administration to either release or try 20 European citizens being held at the base.

The hearing in Brussels was attended by relatives of the detainees, including Azmat Begg, whose son Moazzam is one of nine Britons at the prison camp and Mehdi Ghezali, a Swedish national, who told the hearing his family's life has been ruined by the uncertainty over the fate of his 24-year-old son on Guantanamo. "Our family has been destroyed because we don't know why he is there," he said.

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