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Originally published Wednesday, May 21, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Once spying suspect, Yee now a delegate

A former Army Muslim chaplain at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, who was cleared of spy accusations is now a Democratic National Convention delegate...

OLYMPIA — A former Army Muslim chaplain at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, who was cleared of spy accusations is now a Democratic National Convention delegate pledged to Sen. Barack Obama.

Former Capt. James J. Yee was among the delegates who were elected by precinct representatives Saturday at the party's 9th Congressional District convention at North Thurston High School in Lacey, Thurston County.

Others chosen at the gathering were Zach Smith, a former supporter of ex-Sen. John Edwards who is now pledged to Clinton, and Natalie Stevens, an alternate pledged to Obama.

Yee, a West Point graduate, was accused in 2003 of being part of a spy ring at the U.S. prison for suspected terrorists in Guantánamo Bay. He spent 76 days in solitary confinement before being exonerated, and later resigned from the Army with an honorable discharge.

Yee now lives with his wife and daughter in Olympia, where he was assigned before and after his ordeal.

The experience left him as "living proof that civil liberties have been eroded since 9/11," Yee told The Olympian on Monday.

He said that during the gathering Saturday, "I came out and basically reiterated that Sen. Obama is really the only candidate that consistently campaigns on rejecting torture without exception, on closing Guantánamo Bay, restoring habeas [corpus] and adhering to the Geneva Conventions."

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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