Washington, May 22 (IANS) John Walker Lindh, known as the “American Taliban” who was captured during the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, is scheduled to leave a federal prison on probation after serving 17 years of a 20-year sentence for providing support to the terror group.
Lindh, who converted to Islam at the age of 16 and first left California in 1998 to study Arabic in Yemen, is currently lodged at the prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, The New York Times reported.
He will walk free on Thursday.
Lindh’s journey took him to Pakistan in 2000 and later to Afghanistan, where he spent time at an Al Qaeda training camp as a Taliban volunteer.
As an American citizen, he was tried at a federal court. At his sentencing in October 2002, he condemned “terrorism on every level, unequivocally”, and said he made a mistake by joining the Taliban and denounced the group’s slain leader Osama bin Laden’s terrorist attacks as “completely against Islam”.
As conditions for Lindh’s release, Judge T.S. Ellis III of the US District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, who handled his 2002 trial and guilty plea, has imposed sweeping restrictions.
Lindh will be barred from going online or owning a web-capable device without prior permission of his probation officer.
He will also be barred from travelling internationally and getting a passport or any other kind of travel document.
In all, 346 people have been charged and convicted of jihadi terrorism related crimes since the September 11, 2001, The New York Times quoted official data as saying.
About one-fourth of those prisoners, 88, have been released. About half should be released by the end of 2025, with 19 of them, including Lindh, slated for release this year and next.