Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Ananova - US Taliban suspect John Walker Lindh's

Ananova - US Taliban suspect 'tortured': "US Taliban suspect 'tortured'

A suspected US Taliban has accused the FBI of mistreating him and said he was "tortured" into confessing.

John Walker Lindh's lawyers made the allegations after releasing a picture showing him strapped to a stretcher naked and blindfolded shortly after his capture last December.

Prosecutors, however, say the Muslim convert, accused of conspiring to kill Americans and providing services to support al-Qaida, was being handled like any dangerous prisoner.

Lindh's lawyers said the photo of the 21-year-old Californian was a "souvenir" taken by his captors as he was held inside a metal container at US Camp Rhino in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

They claim he was virtually "tortured" by his FBI captors into confessing his support for al-Qaida.

Prosecutors insist Lindh was treated better than the US soldiers and sailors who guarded him in Afghanistan.

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

"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.

"Within an hour or two, he was wrapped in two comforters for warmth. He was given plenty of water. Within two days, he was provided medical scrubs to wear and was released from the stretcher."

Prosecutors also told the Alexandria court that they had no direct evidence that Lindh shot at Americans, including the CIA officer Johnny Michael Spann, who was killed in an uprising in Mazar-e-Sharif where Lindh was being held. They said, however, that the prosecution does not have to show that he personally shot at Americans to prove his guilt."