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'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
'American Taliban' Pleads for Mercy
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)

(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.

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"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."
(Read more John Walker Lindh stories.)

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