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John Walker Lindh

John Phillip Walker Lindh (born February 9, 1981) is an American citizen who was captured in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom while fighting for the Taliban.

Walker prefers to go by the name "John Walker" today, although during his time in Muslim areas, he also went by "Suleyman al-Faris".

Walker was born to parents Marilyn Walker and Frank Lindh. He was baptized Catholic and grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland, until he was ten years old and his family moved to San Anselmo, California in famously liberal Marin County. In 1997, at age 16, Walker converted to Islam. In 1998, he traveled to Yemen for about ten months, to learn Arabic so that he would be able to read the Qur'an in its original language. He returned to the United States in 1999, living with his family for about eight months before returning to Yemen in February 2000, whence he left for Pakistan to study at an austere madrassa (Islamic school). He is believed to have entered Afghanistan in the spring of 2001.

Upon capture, Walker signed confession documents while he was held by the United States Marine Corps on USS Peleliu and proudly informed his interrogators that he was not merely Taliban but al Qaeda. John Ashcroft, on January 16, 2002 announced that Lindh would be tried in the US. He was then flown to the United States on January 23, 2002. His defense attorney claimed to the press that he asked for a lawyer repeatedly before being interviewed but he didn't get one, and that "highly coercive" prison conditions forced Walker to waive his right to remain silent.

On February 5, 2002, Walker was indicted by a federal grand jury on ten charges, including conspiring to support terrorist organizations and conspiring to murder Americans.

The charges carry three life terms and 90 additional years in prison. On February 13, he pleaded "not guilty" to all ten charges.

In a surprise move, however, on July 15, 2002, Walker pled guilty to two charges — serving in the Taliban army and carrying weapons. The judge asked Walker to say, in his own words, what he was admitting to. "I provided services as a soldier to the Taliban last year. I carried a rifle and two grenades," he said, adding that he knew doing so was illegal. "I plead guilty," he said.

In exchange, the US government agreed to drop all other charges. He will serve twenty years in prison, the sentence to be imposed in October. Walker's attorney, James Brosnahan, said Walker would be eligible for release in 17 years, with good behavior. In addition, Walker agreed to cooperate "fully, truthfully and completely" with both military intelligence and law enforcement agencies in the terrorism investigation, and any profits Walker might make from telling his story will be taken by the government. On October 4, US District Court[?] Judge T.S. Ellis formally imposed this sentence.

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