Preliminary court proceedings slated for Travis airman

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- The military judge appointed to preside over the court martial case involving Senior Airman Ahmad I. Al Halabi, Travis Air Force Base, Calif., has scheduled the next court martial session for March 24 at Travis. At this session, the military judge, Col. Barbara G. Brand of the Central Circuit Judiciary, Randolph AFB, Texas, is expected to hear government and defense motions.

The panel of military members selected to hear the case will not be present at this session. During this session, often referred to as an Article 39a session, the military judge performs procedural functions not requiring the presence of the members, such as receiving the pleas of an accused and hearing and ruling on any motions concerning defense objections, or other matters.

Charges referred in this case include seven specifications alleging the accused failed to obey a lawful general order or regulation in violation of Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice; one specification alleging the accused aided the enemy in violation of Article 104; four specifications alleging espionage in violation of Article 106a; five specifications alleging the accused made false official statements in violation of Article 107; two specifications charged under Article 134 alleging the accused willfully retained documents without authority in violation of 18 U.S.C. 793; and one specification charged under Article 134 alleging the accused executed a fraudulent credit application scheme in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1344.

Charges against Airman Al Halabi that were dismissed include four specifications alleging the accused failed to obey a lawful general order or regulation in violation of Article 92; one specification alleging the accused aided the enemy in violation of Article 104; four specifications alleging the accused made false official statements in violation of Article 107; and one specification charged under Article 134 alleging a violation of 18 U.S.C. 793.

Airman Al Halabi was on temporary duty at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for nine months--serving as an Arabic language translator at the time of the alleged offenses. He was apprehended at Jacksonville Naval Air Station, Fla., on July 23, and was transported to his home station at Travis AFB the following day. He is currently being held in pretrial confinement at Vandenberg AFB, Calif.

The date of the trial, to be held at Travis AFB, has tentatively been set for April 20, 2004.