- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 6, 2002

American Taliban fighter John Walker Lindh was indicted yesterday by a federal grand jury on 10 charges, including conspiracy to kill Americans in Afghanistan, Attorney General John Ashcroft said.
The indictment in Alexandria added new charges to ones already outlined in the federal government's criminal complaint against Lindh. They include: conspiracy to contribute services to the former Taliban regime, contributing services to the al Qaeda network, and using and carrying firearms and destructive devices during crimes of violence.
"John Walker Lindh choose to train with al Qaeda, choose to fight with the Taliban, chose to be led by Osama bin Laden," Mr. Ashcroft said. "The reasons for his choices may never be fully known to us, but the fact of these choices is clear."
Lindh had already been charged on conspiracy to murder U.S. citizens, along with two counts of conspiracy to provide material support and resources to designated foreign terrorist organizations, two counts of providing material support and resources to terrorist organizations and one count of supplying services to the Taliban.
The new charges purport that the 20-year-old Lindh was trained by bin Laden's al Qaeda network and then conspired with the Taliban to kill Americans. His lawyers, nonetheless, made a motion for his release on bail until trial.
The charges carry penalties of three life terms plus six additional 10-year sentences and 30 years in jail, Mr. Ashcroft said.
Although Lindh has not been charged with treason, which carries the death penalty, U.S. Attorney Paul J. McNulty said, "As far as other charges, we have the opportunity or right to have a superseding indictment if the evidence justifies that."
The indictment said that last spring, Lindh agreed to attend an al Qaeda training camp "knowing that America and its citizens were the enemies of bin Laden and Al Qaeda and that a principal purpose of al Qaeda was to fight and kill Americans."
After the September 11 attacks, the indictment said, Lindh remained with his fighting group "despite having been told that bin Laden had ordered the attacks, that additional terrorist attacks were planned and that additional al-Qaeda personnel were being sent from training camps to the front lines to protect bin Laden and defend against an anticipated military response from the United States."
Mr. Ashcroft said yesterday Lindh's reported confessions were properly obtained and his civil rights protected.
"At each step in this process, Walker Lindh's rights, including his rights not to incriminate himself and to be represented by counsel, have been carefully, scrupulously honored," Mr. Ashcroft said.
Before yesterday's indictments, attorneys for Lindh asked that he be released pending trial, contending there was no evidence of criminal wrongdoing and no danger that he would flee. A hearing is set for today on the government's bid to continue holding Lindh without bond.
"There are no allegations and no evidence that he ever so much as fired a shot, even at [U.S.-backed] Northern Alliance soldiers," Lindh's defense team said in a written motion.
The lawyers asked that Lindh be permitted to stay with his father, Frank, and said he would be willing to use electronic-monitoring devices to track his movements.
Lindh was captured by U.S. authorities and Northern Alliance allies in Afghanistan in early December after a prison uprising, during which a CIA agent was killed. He was brought back to the United States Jan. 23 and has been held in Alexandria since then.
This article is based in part on wire service reports.



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