- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 24, 2002

Attorneys for accused American Taliban fighter John Walker Lindh yesterday said he made incriminating statements to U.S. authorities in Afghanistan out of fear he would be turned over to Northern Alliance troops and killed.
In papers filed with U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III, the attorneys said Northern Alliance tribal leaders in Afghanistan killed as many as 300 Taliban and al Qaeda members after Lindh's capture and that he agreed to talk with U.S. authorities out of fear for his life.
With their client facing life in prison plus 90 years on charges of conspiring to kill U.S. nationals, Lindh's defense team has vigorously sought to block statements he made to U.S. authorities, including the FBI, confirming his involvement with the now-ousted Taliban regime and the al Qaeda terrorist network.
The attorneys told Judge Ellis that summaries written by prosecutors of interviews with seven Afghan prisoners at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, confirmed the deaths of Taliban and al Qaeda fighters at the hands of the Northern Alliance during a six-day uprising at the Mazar-e-Sharif prison where Lindh was held.
They said Lindh talked to U.S. authorities only because he "feared return to Northern Alliance captivity," and asked Judge Ellis to order the government to make available complete accounts of the Guantanamo interviews.
Defense attorney George C. Harris said the summaries "corroborate why Mr. Lindh would have feared return to Northern Alliance captivity at the time that he was interrogated in the area of Mazar-e-Sharif between December 1 and 7, 2001."
The defense team also said the summaries suggested that the interviews with the detainees supported Lindh's contention that he played no part in the prison uprising that took the life of CIA agent Johnny "Mike" Spann.
The government has asked the court for a protective to guard public release of detainee interviews to "protect ongoing investigative activities of critical national importance which could be compromised by the public disclosure of these documents or their contents."
Lindh has not been charged in Mr. Spann's death. The CIA agent was killed during the prison uprising shortly after he interviewed the 22-year-old former California resident.
Lindh's attorneys have said their client was denied access to legal representation after his detention by U.S. military forces in November. They said his statements during his captivity should not be admissible because he had been blindfolded, kept in a freezing metal container and tightly bound with handcuffs.
Much of the government's case is based on interviews Lindh gave to FBI agents on Dec. 2 and 3. The government said he was advised of his rights and agreed to talk with the agents after signing a waiver saying he understood his rights and did not want an attorney.
Judge Ellis has set May 31 for a hearing to determine witness lists.

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