'American Taliban' John Walker Lindh due to be released from prison

'American Taliban' John Walker Lindh due to be released from prison

Lindh was discharged several years before completing the 20-year prison sentence he received for joining and supporting the Taliban, with officials citing "good behavior" for the early release.

His status in the inmate registry changed from scheduled for release on Thursday from the USA federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, to "unknown".

The Bureau of Prisons said Lindh rejected an interview request submitted by The Associated Press, and his lawyer declined to comment. He admitted to participating in a Taliban uprising at a detention camp in northern Afghanistan that killed hundreds of prisoners and a Central Intelligence Agency officer, Johnny Michael Spann.

Lindh was initially charged with conspiring to kill Spann.

During his supervised release, Lindh will not be allowed to possess any internet-capable device with out prior permission from his probation officer, and any such device must be monitored continuously, according to court documents.

In mid-2001, ostensibly drawn by stories of the mistreatment of Afghans, he enlisted in the Taliban's fight against the Northern Alliance.

Spann's daughter Alison was only nine when her father became the first American to be killed in combat in Afghanistan.

Also, Lindh has been accused of spreading radical Islamist propaganda to fellow prisoners, using rhetoric from formerly high-ranking Muslim Brotherhood member Sayyid Qutb. She called Lindh a traitor and his early release "a slap in the face".

Now that Lindh is about to go free 3 years before the end of his 20-year sentence, multiple lawmakers and figures connected with his case are concerned about whether he's truly rehabilitated and no longer poses a public threat.

The documents by the National Counterterrorism Centre, for instance, claimed that the convict would "continue to spread violent extremist Islam on his release" and had hailed Daesh*.

Lindh was released Thursday from a facility in IN, having served 17 years of a 20-year sentence.

Lindh has been housed in Terre Haute, Indiana, with other Muslim inmates convicted on terror-related charges. When he was sentenced, Lindh said he never would have joined the Taliban if he fully understood what they were about.

He noted that numerous other Taliban fighters who were sent to Guantanamo as enemy combatants were released much earlier.

NBC News reported that Lindh wrote a letter to its Los Angeles station KNBC in 2015 expressing support for Islamic State, saying the Islamic militant group was fulfilling "a religious obligation to establish a caliphate through armed struggle".

In March, the legislature in Alabama, where Spann grew up, adopted a resolution calling Lindh's release "an insult" to Spann's "heroic legacy and his remaining family members". Republican Sen. Richard Shelby and Democratic Sen.

Spann's father, Johnny, told ABC News that he felt like he had "to apologize" to his son for Lindh's release, "because I feel like we failed him".

"We must consider the security and safety implications for our citizens and communities who will receive individuals like John Walker Lindh", they said.

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