'American Taliban' Lindh to leave prison next month
WASHINGTON: John Walker Lindh, an American captured with the Taliban in November 2001 just weeks after the US launched the war in Afghanistan, is to be released in May after 17 years in prison.
Recently filed court documents confirmed that the 38-year-old, dubbed “American Taliban,” will be released from federal prison in Indiana on May 23, even as the conflict in Afghanistan continues to rage.
Born into a Catholic family, Lindh converted to Islam while a high school student near San Fransisco.
At 17 in 1998, he travelled to Yemen to study Arabic, and then in early 2001, four months before the Al-Qaeda attacks on September 11, he travelled to Afghanistan to join Taliban forces in their fight against the Northern Alliance.
After 9/11, Lindh was captured and handed over to US forces and then sent back to the United States to stand trial.
Prosecutors were hobbled by reports that he may have been tortured into confessing while in US custody.
They negotiated a deal in which Lindh would plead guilty to supplying services to the Taliban and illegal possession of a rifle and grenades while doing so.
He was sentenced to 20 years in prison, but his jail term has been shortened for good behaviour.
Documents filed last week with the federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, where Lindh was tried, show that he agreed to restrictive conditions during a three-year probation period after his release.
Those include accepting that his internet use will be monitored continuously, that he cannot communicate online in any other language than English without permission, and that he will not communicate with extremists or view “material that reflects extremist or terroristic views.”
Lindh, who was granted Irish citizenship in 2013 based on his grandmother’s roots, will also not be allowed to travel abroad for the three years without express court permission.
It is not yet known where Lindh will go after he leaves prison.