Thanks in part to Obama’s nominee to lead the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “Prison Officials Are Loosening Restrictions on Taliban Supporter,” by Carrie Johnson for the Washington Post, March 18 (thanks to Ted):
Prison officials are easing restrictions on John Walker Lindh, the Californian captured by U.S. forces in Afghanistan who became known as the “American Taliban,” according to government documents.
Among other changes, officials are expanding the number of people who can contact Lindh, who is serving a 20-year prison term without possibility of parole in a medium-security prison in Terre Haute, Ind.
Lindh pleaded guilty more than six years ago to charges of supporting the Taliban and carrying a rifle and two hand grenades onto the battlefield in Afghanistan, where radicals fought the Northern Alliance aligned with U.S. forces.
In late 2001, images of a dirty, dreadlocked Lindh wounded by a shot to the leg and being carried on a stretcher captivated the public and set off waves of speculation about the first American citizen apprehended while fighting alongside the Taliban.
Lindh’s relatives depicted him as a misguided youth who fell victim to bad influences. His case later became a cause celebre for human rights groups that sought without success to overturn his prison sentence. Lindh’s parents asked President George W. Bush to commute their son’s prison sentence, but Bush rejected the request in one of his final acts in office in January.
According to a Justice Department document, all “special administrative measures” in place against Lindh will expire Friday as part of a gradual easing of restrictions on the 28-year-old. Prosecutors in Virginia and FBI officials approved the move, the document said.[…]
D. Anthony West, President Obama’s nominee to lead the Justice Department’s Civil Division, also assisted in Lindh’s defense. The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on West last week but has not scheduled a vote on his nomination.