'American Taliban' Lindh released from United States prison: U.S. media

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Amid outrage over the release Thursday of so-called "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh, an Alabama congressman introduced a bill that would bar early release of future federal inmates convicted of terrorism-related charges.

In fact, Lindh, 38, will not only be set free, he will have to live somewhere outside of Washington, in the eastern part of Virginia, under supervised release when he leaves the us penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana, three sources told ABC News.

But Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens, a researcher at the George Washington University Centre for Extremism, says that while in prison Lindh became close Ahmad Musa Jibril, an Arab-American who since his 2012 release continues to preach an extremely conservative version of Islam popular among jihadists. The plea deal called for a 20-year sentence, but Lindh got out early for good behaviour.

Not two months after 9/11, Lindh was captured in Afghanistan, detained and interviewed by a Central Intelligence Agency officer, a former Marine named Mike Spann. "He is a man of enormous integrity and courage, and we are now allowing someone who was involved in his death out of jail after what is a relatively short sentence".

When he was discovered in 2001, he was among captured Taliban troops and al-Qaida fighters who had been holed up for six days in a basement of the Qalai Janghi fort.

He was captured with Taliban fighters in Afghanistan in November 2001 and failed to warn USA forces of a planned uprising at the Qala-i-Jangi jail in Balkh where he was being held.

The Taliban and foreign fighters who revolted at Qalai Janghi had been brought to the fortress after surrendering the northern Afghan city of Kunduz to northern alliance fighters.

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Under federal law, any federal prisoner can be released early for "exemplary compliance with institutional disciplinary regulations". Even so, Lindh would have been released no later than three years from now regardless of his behavior, unless he committed other prosecutable crimes while in prison. Foreign Policy magazine reported in 2017 that an investigation by the National Counterterrorism Center found that Lindh "continued to advocate for global jihad and to write and translate violent extremist texts". Lindh was the first US-born detainee in the war on terror served 17 years of a 20-year sentence where he pleaded guilty to fighting alongside the Taliban. A hearing on the issue was canceled after Lindh agreed to them.

There are no exceptions to this law, including those who have been convicted of terrorism charges, and there are 108 other terrorist offenders who are scheduled to complete their sentences and be released from US federal prison over the next few years, according to Byrne's office.

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

Some have expressed concern that Lindh is still actively radical.

Central Intelligence Agency operative Johnny "Mike" Spann was killed during the uprising and Lindh was injured.

Some US lawmakers fear Lindh remains a security risk.

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