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U.S. seeks detention for accused Syrian spy from Va.

Friday - 10/28/2011, 6:27am  ET

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Federal prosecutors are again trying to persuade a judge to keep a Virginia man accused of acting as a Syrian spy in jail while he awaits trial.

Last week a magistrate in federal court in Alexandria ordered 47-year-old Mohamad Soueid (SWAYD) of Leesburg free on home detention while he awaits trial on charges that he worked with intelligence agencies in Damascus to monitor Syrian expatriates in the U.S. opposed to President Bashar Assad's regime.

The magistrate said that, at worst, Soueid appears to be no more than a low-level operative.

But prosecutors strongly dispute that, and say Soueid is connected to the highest levels of the Syrian regime, including Assad himself. They appealed the magistrate's bail order, and Soueid has remained in custody.

A hearing is scheduled for Friday morning.

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