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'American Taliban' pleads not guilty to ten charges.

John Walker Lindh, who fought with the Taliban in Afghanistan, pleaded not guilty yesterday to a ten-count indictment including charges that he conspired to kill Americans abroad.

'Not guilty sir,' said Lindh in a firm, clear voice after the judge asked him how he pleaded to all charges.

The 'American Taliban' appeared wearing a dark green jump suit with 'prisoner' stenciled in white letters on the back US District Judge TS Ellis rejected recommendations by both sets of lawyers that the trial begin in mid-November. He wants it at the end of August or September for the Californian, who was captured in Afghanistan in November.

The judge put off a decision on the trial date until tomorrow. Lindh, just turned 21, smiled at his parents as he was taken from the courtroom.

Lindh is accused of conspiring to kill Americans abroad, including civilians and military personnel, engaging in prohibited transactions with the deposed Taliban government, and conspiring with and aiding the Taliban and Osama bin Laden's al Qaida network.

Other charges include conspiring to supply services to the Taliban and using and carrying firearms and destructive devices in crimes of violence.

Lindh, who converted to Islam as a teenager, faces life in prison if convicted.

Defence lawyer George Harris said the mid-November date was needed so his team could make investigations abroad.

'You need to get about it swiftly,' Judge Ellis told him.

Lindh spoke only briefly during the 25-minute hearing, saying 'Good morning, sir,' after the judge greeted him. He replied 'Yes, sir,' when asked if he had a copy of the indictment.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Feb 14, 2002
Words:264
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