Former Army chaplain speaks about his experiences, reads from book
Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Capt. James Yee will speak on Veterans Day, Monday, Nov. 11, about his experiences as an Army chaplain at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, at 7 p.m. in C20 Pomerantz Center on the University of Iowa campus. His talk, which is free and open to the public, is titled, "Guantanamo: Justice and Human Rights."

James Yee
Capt. James Yee

Yee graduated from West Point in 1990 and converted from Lutheranism to Islam in 1991. A 14-year Army career man, he was assigned to minister to the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay after 9/11.

In 2001, Yee was commissioned as one of the first Muslim chaplains in the United States Army. Upon his return to the U.S. in September of 2003, Yee was arrested by the FBI, blindfolded, manacled, and thrown into solitary confinement for 76 days. He was accused of being an operative in a supposed spy ring. Eight months later, all charges were dropped, but his life and career were left in shambles.

Capt. James Yee will also participate in a University of Iowa Veteran Vitality kickoff celebration Monday, Nov. 11. For more details, visit here.

Subsequently, Yee wrote a book about his experiences titled For God and Country: Faith and Patriotism Under Fire. Yee will read from his book and do a book signing Monday, Nov. 11, at 3 p.m. at Prairie Lights Books in downtown Iowa City. The reading is also free and open to the public.

His is an important message to hear for all Americans who want to protect and preserve individual constitutional rights and the rights of foreign prisoners, according to Adrien Wing, director of the UI Center for Human Rights (UICHR) and Bessie Dutton Murray Professor in the UI College of Law.

"Americans need to hear firsthand from a former Army officer about the nature of the Guantanamo situation," Wing says. " There are people who have been incarcerated without charges for over a decade that many of us have forgotten about. Yee, a West Point grad, makes us remember."

Sponsors include the following, the UICHR; Veterans for Peace in Iowa City and Cedar Rapids; Iowa City Mosque; Cedar Rapids Islamic Center; Amnesty International; Iowa Physicians for Social Responsibility; the Unitarian Universalists Society of Iowa City, and Prairie Lights.

Additional events with Captain Yee will be held throughout the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids corridor from Saturday, Nov. 9 through Monday, Nov. 11. More information on his schedule is available at the UI Center for Human Rights website under News and Events.

For more information, contact Joan Nashelsky in the UICHR at or at 319-335-3900.

The UI Center for Human Rights is part of the UI College of Law.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in these programs, contact the UICHR in advance at 319-335-3900. For accommodations to attend the Prairie Lights reading, call Jan Weissmiller at Prairie Lights in advance at 319-337-2681.