DOJ to reduce prison communications limits on ‘American Taliban’ Lindh

DOJ to reduce prison communications limits on ‘American Taliban’ Lindh

[JURIST] A spokesperson for the US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] said Wednesday that the DOJ will limit prison restrictions on John Walker Lindh [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], a California man known as the "American Taliban." Lindh is serving a 20-year sentence in an Indiana federal prison after pleading guilty [plea agreement] in 2002 to supplying services to the Taliban. DOJ spokesman Dean Boyd said certain restrictions on Lindh will be lifted [AP report] Friday. Boyd did not discuss the details of the restrictions, but Lindh's lawyer said [Los Angeles Times report] Lindh will be allowed to visit with more people.

After pleading guilty to a charge [indictment] of aiding the Taliban, Lindh repeatedly asked then-president George W. Bush to reduce his 20-year sentence. Bush declined [JURIST report] to do so. The Associated Press [media website] then sued the DOJ to gain access under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) [text] to Lindh's petition for commutation. In December, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] the lower court's ruling that Lindh's petition fell under a FOIA invasion-of-privacy exception and as such was not available to the public.