Thursday, December 18, 2008

Will 'The American Taliban' Be Released Before Jonathan Pollard?

...lawyers argue that the 'American Taliban' should have his sentence commuted after 7 years in prison:
So-called "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh's family and attorneys again are urging President George W. Bush to release the Marin County man from federal prison.

Lindh, now 27, converted to Islam as a teenager and studied the Koran in Yemen and Pakistan before going to Afghanistan, where he fought for the Taliban before and after Sept. 11, 2001, until his unit surrendered to Northern Alliance forces that November.

He had faced charges that could have sent him to prison for life, including conspiring to kill Americans abroad, but pleaded guilty in July 2002 to one count of providing services to the Taliban and one count of carrying explosives during a felony — all terrorism-related charges against him were dropped. [emphasis added]
This is the part that I found particularly jaw dropping:
Raj Chatterjee, another of Lindh's attorneys, said others detained and/or charged in the "War on Terror" under similar or more serious circumstances have been released after serving less time.

"There's a fundamental principle of U.S. jurisprudence, and that is that prison sentences must be fair and similar cases should be treated similarly," he said. "It has become abundantly clear that John has been treated differently."
Allahpundit clarifies what Lindh's activities for the Taliban actually were:
He fought with the Taliban against the Northern Alliance after the U.S. entered the war; he claimed that he trained at an AQ camp in the summer of 2001 and was asked to carry out attacks against America and Israel (but declined); he didn’t warn anyone in the United States about anything, least of all Mike Spann even though he allegedly knew that the prison uprising in which Spann was killed was in the works; and rather than challenge the supposedly coercive circumstances of his interrogation in court, he copped a plea that reduced his potential sentence from life to 17 years with good behavior. By his own admission he’s a sworn jihadist, albeit one who’s supposedly expressed remorse for 9/11 (but not, according to his own father, for the U.S.S. Cole bombing).
Even putting aside Chatterjee's implicit comparison between war crimes and criminal law-- if what Chatterjee says is true, and others with even more serious charges have been treated more leniently, then there is something very wrong in general, and with the way that Jonathan Pollard continues to be treated in particular.

There can be no comparison between what Lindh and Pollard have done.
And there can be no further reason for keeping Pollard in prison after serving 24 years.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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