'American Taliban' Pleads for Mercy

Seeks freedom after 7 years in prison
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 18, 2008 6:00 AM CST
Marilyn Walker and Frank Lindh, parents of American-born Taliban John Walker Lindh, are asking President Bush to set their son free.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
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(Newser) – A young California man captured with the Taliban in 2001 is asking President Bush to commute the remaining 13 years of a 20-year prison sentence. John Walker Lindh, 27, joined the Taliban a month before the US-led invasion of Afghanistan following the 9/11 attacks. Lindh claims he was never a terrorist. Former president Bush famously called Lindh a "misguided Marin County hot-tubber"—comments for which he later apologized to Californians.

"Our son never fought against American forces," said his mother, Marilyn Walker. "He did not participate in terrorist activities of any kind. John made a mistake in joining the Afghan army when their government was controlled by the Taliban. This is the Christmas season, and it's a time for mercy."