John Walker Lindh, the Marin native who was given the nickname "American Taliban" after he was captured in Afghanistan, has been released from federal prison after serving 17 years of a 20-year term, his lawyer said. There is bipartisan concern about Lindh's early release.
Lindh's plea deal called for a 20-year sentence, but he is getting out a few years early for good behaviour.
Lindh's behavior must have been particularly good, at least from the prison system point of view.More news: Redmi K20 series price leaks ahead of launch
He is not allowed to hold a passport, communicate with known extremists or have any online communications in any language other than English unless approved. Lindh spent more than 17 years in prison after pleading guilty to providing support to the Taliban. His father's mother is thought to have been born in Donegal. He was then handed to US forces, but they brutalized him, as well. I don't think we're that lucky. "Essentially I am seeking asylum from one country where I am a citizen in another country where I am also a citizen".
Also, Lindh has been accused of spreading radical Islamist propaganda to fellow prisoners, using rhetoric from formerly high-ranking Muslim Brotherhood member Sayyid Qutb.
Lindh, for his part, admitted his role and his wrongdoing in supporting the Taliban, but he and his family have bristled at any notion that he should be considered a terrorist. A hearing on the issue was canceled after Lindh agreed to them. The conversation then turned toward the possibility of seeking asylum in Puerto Rico.
But Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens, a researcher at the George Washington University Centre for Extremism, says that while in prison Lindh became close Ahmad Musa Jibril, an Arab-American who since his 2012 release continues to preach an extremely conservative version of Islam popular among jihadists.More news: Giroud signs new one-year deal with Chelsea
'Don't turn him loose if there's reports out here that he's not being the model prisoner that ya'll say he is, ' the elder Spann said.
Lindh signed his letters with the name Yahya. In response to being asked if the extremist group represented him, he wrote, "Yes, and they are doing a spectacular job".
These comments came after ISIS publicized videos showing the beheading of numerous American journalists in 2014, according to NBC News.
Spann's father was referring to reports, including a 2017 investigation by Foreign Policy magazine and documents composed by the National Counterterrorism Center, that said Lindh "continued to advocate for global jihad" as of May 2016. The memo begins, "We assess that some of the more than 90 homegrown violent extremists (HVEs) incarcerated in the USA who are due to be released in the next five years will probably reengage in terrorist activity, possibly including attack plotting, because they either remain radicalized or are susceptible to re-radicalization".More news: Blues play appropriate music after clinching Stanley Cup berth