‘American Taliban’ asks Bush to commute the sentence of imprisonment

The man nicknamed the “American Taliban” is asking the president to commute the remaining years of his sentence in federal prison, according to a statement released by his lawyers on Wednesday.

John Walker Lindh, a 27-year-old from California, has served seven years from 20 years in prison after being captured in Afghanistan in 2001.

He joined the Taliban to fight in the civil war one month before the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, according to the statement.

He originally was indicted on 10 counts, including conspiracy to kill American citizens, but U.S. Department of Justice dismissed the terrorism-related charges in 2002.

Lindh pleaded guilty to serve in the army and the Taliban bear arms while fighting US-backed Northern Alliance. Along with the plea, signed a gag order that prevented him from doing interviews.

His lawyers say Lindh never fought against U.S. forces and received a harsher sentence because the sentencing took place after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in New York, Washington and rural Pennsylvania.

Lindh of lawyers say they arrived in Afghanistan on Sept. 6, 2001.

At a press conference on Wednesday in San Francisco, California, parents of Lindh asked President Bush to show mercy for her son.

“This is the Christmas season, and it is a time for mercy,” said Lindh’s mother, Marilyn Walker.

His father, Frank Lindh said his son, who grew up in California and converted to Islam as a teenager, “is a Muslim. He always, in my opinion, being a Muslim.”

Her parents reiterated their argument that Lindh was abroad to study Islam, was found in Afghanistan in a civil war and joined the Taliban with the intention of not supporting terrorism or fighting their homeland. They believe that the post-September 11 on terrorism charges, which were subsequently dismissed, stimulated public reaction against Lindh, which led to 20 years in prison.

“Our son never fought against U.S. forces,” said his mother. “He did not participate in terrorist activities of any kind. … John made a mistake in joining the Afghan army at a time when his government was controlled by the Taliban. He has admitted that this was a mistake.”

Lindh told the lawyers that is found in half of security at the prison in Terre Haute, Indiana.

The elder Lindh said his son had been treated “very humane” in the federal prison system.

“Quiet and in good shape, he has served his seven years”, said Frank Lindh. “No matter what your perspective on this case, we believe that everyone should agree that seven years is enough.”

Lawyers for Lindh said that the switch earlier appealed to the Bush administration have gone unanswered, but his father said the family of Lindh’s hope that Bush act before leaving office.

“All these events occurred while President Bush was in office,” said Frank Lindh. “This is in your plate. I would like to think we’re going to get a response from President Bush this time.”

Appearing before a U.S. district judge in 2002, Lindh said, “made a mistake by joining the Taliban” and “had I realized then what I know now about the Taliban, who have never joined them.”

“Life is to make decisions and live with the consequences”, U.S. District Judge TS Ellis told Lindh during the sentencing. “You made a bad choice to join the Taliban.”


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