The father of American-born Taliban solider, John Walker Lindh, who is serving 20 years in prison, is petitioning for his son to be granted Irish citizenship. It is likely he will seek to settle there on his release.
Frank Lindh also belives that the Irish government could question his son’s treatment by American authorities if he was an Irish citizen.
When John Walker Lindh was captured in Afghanistan he told the soldiers he was Irish to try and disguise his US citizenship. His preferred name is now Abu Sulayman al-Irlandi (the Irlandi title refers to Lindh's claim to be Irish).
The young man’s father, who is Irish American, spoke to Newstalk radio about his son and his plan to get Irish citizenship. Frank Lindh’s mother is from Donegal.
Walker Lindh and his father visited Ireland in 1998 (see photo above) at the time “he found Irish people to be open and accepting,” according to a Broadsheet.ie report.
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In his interview on Newstalk radio in Ireland Lindh’s father stated that
• He believes his son will be released from his 20 yrs sentence in 7 yrs on parole.
• He hopes his son could live in Ireland when he gets out of prison.
• He says his son will not be safe in America. That's why he hopes his son might be able to live in Ireland.
• He thinks many in America believe his son was involved in 9/11. He says that statements by Pres Bush & others have marked John out as a terrorist.
• He is working on getting Irish passports for all three of his kids.
• He expects no issue getting Irish citizenship for JWL
• He figures Irish govt should support him because of human rights issue in John's case.
Last year, Lindh spoke at the University of San Francisco, School of Law and told of how his son was handling prison nearly a decade after being captured. In 2002, his son pleaded guilty to supplying the Taliban government and carrying explosives for them. He was charged with conspiring to kill Americans and support terrorists. Those charges were dropped in a plea agreement.
Walker Lindh met Osama Bin Laden when he visited his training camp.
The New England Review reported that, speaking in San Francisco, Lindh said his son is dealing well with incarceration. Although he was sentenced to 20 years, it is thought that he’ll be out sooner.
He said, “He's a very calm and centered person…He's very spiritual. He does his daily prayers. He's an observant Muslim. We talk heart to heart a lot."
Lindh has been running a campaign to clear his son’s name. He maintains that Walker Lindh was falsely accused and claims that the media wrongly named him a terrorist.
He said his son was serving with the Taliban in order to protect civilians who were being victimized by the Northern Alliance.
Currently, Walker Lindh is being held in a special unit of a Terre Haute Indiana federal prison, which holds mostly Muslim inmates. Their communication with the outside world is limited.
At first, Walker Lindh was held in a SuperMax prison for a year. His father said he remembers his son being brought to see him in chains. However, now Walker Lindh can leave his cell and socialize with his fellow inmates.
Speaking at the Commonwealth Club in California for the first time since his son was captured in 2006, Frank Lindh spelt out his son’s story.
Lindh said, “This is the story of a decent and honorable young man, embarked on a spiritual quest, who became the focus of the grief and anger of an entire nation,” according to AlterNet.
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