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Wednesday, 3 April, 2002, 10:40 GMT 11:40 UK
'American Taleban' torture claim
John Walker Lindh
John Walker Lindh could face life in prison
Lawyers for the "American Taleban" John Walker Lindh say he was "tortured" into confessing and was mistreated by the FBI on his arrest.

They revealed a photo to a US court, showing the terror suspect strapped naked to a stretcher and blindfolded.

John Walker Lindh's lawyers released this picture saying it showed him in military custody, strapped to a stretcher and blindfolded
Lawyers released this picture saying it showed Walker Lindh in military custody
Mr Walker faces 10 charges including conspiring to kill Americans and providing support to terrorists, including Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda.

The prosecution - whose case is largely built on his alleged confession - deny the claims of maltreatment.

Mr Walker had been fighting for the Taleban when captured in Afghanistan in December last year.

Conditions 'horrible'

The photograph of him was presented at a pre-trial hearing at a court in Alexandria, Virginia.

Lawyers for the 21-year-old Muslim convert from California said he was kept in horrible conditions on his capture.

They told the court the photo was taken as a "souvenir" by his captors when he was held in a metal container at US Camp Rhino in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

He was virtually "tortured" by his FBI captors into confessing his support for Osama Bin Laden's terror network, they say.

But prosecutors denied the claims and insisted to the court that Mr Walker got better treatment than the US soldiers and sailors who guarded him in Afghanistan.

"Lindh was treated as a potentially dangerous detainee given his suspected affiliation with a terrorist organisation," they said in court papers.

"His ragged clothing was removed, he was searched, and he was then placed in a large metal container, where he was initially secured to a stretcher.

'Hardened terrorist'

"Within an hour or two, he was wrapped in two comforters for warmth."

The prosecution went on to say Mr Walker was given plenty of water and was released from the stretcher "within two days".

John Walker Lindh
Mr Walker converted to Islam aged 16

The prosecution paint Mr Walker as a hardened terrorist, but the defence say he was a "misguided" young man with no intention of harming US military personnel.

Prosecution lawyers say they have no direct evidence that Mr Walker shot at Americans.

But they say the prosecution does not need to show he personally shot at Americans to prove his guilt.

Three of the charges against Mr Walker carry a maximum life sentence and the other seven could result in an additional 97 years in prison.

See also:

03 Apr 02 | Americas
'Key' al-Qaeda recruiter captured
01 Apr 02 | Americas
Setback for 'US Taleban' defence
07 Feb 02 | Americas
'American Taleban' had Yemen hopes
24 Jan 02 | Americas
Profile: John Walker Lindh
16 Jan 02 | Americas
Walker Lindh's strange odyssey
16 Jan 02 | Americas
US Taleban suspect 'refused lawyer'
14 Dec 01 | Americas
Enigma of 'American Taleban'
05 Dec 01 | Americas
US shocked by 'American Taleban'
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