Muslim chaplain who was cleared in espionage case resigns from U.S. army
Aug. 2, 2004
ReligionNewsBlog.com • Wednesday August 4, 2004
SEATTLE (AP) – A Muslim chaplain cleared after being imprisoned for 76 days in an espionage investigation submitted a letter of resignation to the army Monday, saying officials never apologized to him or allowed him to retrieve his belongings from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Capt. James Yee, 35, ministered to prisoners at Guantanamo Bay naval station, where the military is holding suspected Muslim terrorists. He was taken into custody after the military initially linked him to a possible espionage ring at Guantanamo.
“Those unfounded allegations – which were leaked to the media – irreparably injured my personal and professional reputation and destroyed my prospects for a career in the United States army,” Yee wrote in his resignation letter.
Yee asked to be discharged on Jan. 7. The army must approve his resignation, but Yee’s lawyer, Eugene Fidell, said he did not believe Yee’s wishes would be opposed. Fort Lewis spokesman Lt.-Col. Bill Costello said he did not know when Yee might get an answer.
The army arrested him last September carrying what authorities said were classified documents. He was eventually charged with mishandling classified material, failing to obey an order, making a false official statement, adultery and conduct unbecoming an officer.
In March, army officials dismissed all criminal charges against him, but found him guilty of the non-criminal army charges of adultery and downloading pornography. The reprimand he received was thrown out by an army general a month later.
Senators Carl Levin of Michigan and Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts have asked the Pentagon to investigate the handling of Yee’s case, saying it called into question the fairness of military justice.
Once he leaves the army, Yee plans to continue working on a master’s degree in international relations and perhaps pursue a doctorate, as well, Fidell said.
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