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|A Short Course In Miracles (i.e - Sulayman Lindh)|
|09/30/02 at 12:11:37|
|This is from TIME magazine, so as always, filter out the trash put in by the writer:|
A Short Course In Miracles
The inside story of how accused terrorist John Walker Lindh cut a deal to avoid life in prison — and why the government went along
BY TIMOTHY ROCHE/MILL VALLEY
ALEXANDRIA COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPT/AP
John Walker Lindh
His long hair has been closely cropped and his beard shaved clean, but John Walker Lindh is still a believer. In his jail cell in northern Virginia, he has been telling his religious adviser how he came to realize that Allah had a plan for him.
Trapped in a cave in Afghanistan, Lindh and his comrades had no way to escape, he told Abdelwahab Hassan. But they awoke one morning to the divine comfort of a Taliban soldier's dream, which promised that somebody would come for them in seven days. They counted each setting sun until, just as foretold, a rescuer freed them. Another time, while learning from al-Qaeda terrorists how to fire shoulder-launched grenades and ignite Molotov cocktails for the glory of jihad, Lindh witnessed the shooting death of a fellow believer. The smell of musk filled the air, and he recalled the teaching of the prophets that martyrs emit their essence upon death.
He has come to believe that he witnessed two modern miracles. But for Lindh, 21--raised amid the mellow comforts of California's Marin County and charged with betraying his country — another miracle came to pass last week in a northern Virginia courtroom, where defense lawyers and federal prosecutors announced a plea bargain. The deal abruptly ended the case against Lindh, who pleaded guilty to charges of aiding the Taliban and possessing explosives; in exchange, the government dropped terrorism and conspiracy charges that could have brought him three life terms plus 90 years. Federal District Judge T.S. Ellis III must approve the deal, which would send Lindh to prison for 20 years, though he could be out in 17 years for good behavior.
While the carefully worded agreement was not a complete surprise to legal scholars who doubted the strength of the case against Lindh, the timing of the deal stunned even Judge Ellis. He was ready to begin a series of hearings meant to decide whether to suppress incriminating statements Lindh gave fbi agents and a cnn reporter after his capture last December. Lindh had pleaded not guilty to a 10-count indictment, but he hardly denied one of the primary charges — that he assisted the Taliban by willingly fighting on the front lines. To him, say his lawyers and relatives, taking up arms in support of the Taliban was a religious experience, the result of his search for the purest interpretation of the Koran. "I started to read some of the literature of the scholars and the history of the movement, and my heart became attached to them," Lindh told cnn.
Lindh's religiosity might not have helped him if the case had reached a jury, especially one in Alexandria, just miles from where al-Qaeda crashed a hijacked plane into the Pentagon. "When your defense is count nine of the indictment, you're in trouble," says Lindh lawyer James Brosnahan, referring to the charge that Lindh aided the Taliban. "He was a kid who believed in what he was doing, but he was not a terrorist."
The case against him had its troubles too. It was likely to be overshadowed by testimony about how Lindh's confessions may have been coerced by the humiliating conditions of his military confinement — bound, blindfolded, strapped to a stretcher and placed inside a steel container. So on July 12, when Brosnahan and his team came to the courthouse in Alexandria for pretrial motions, prosecutors asked for a meeting to discuss ways of avoiding a trial. Later, Brosnahan learned that U.S. Attorneys Paul McNulty and Randy Bellows had already paved the way for a deal.
First, they had taken the idea to Michael Chertoff, the Assistant Attorney General in charge of prosecutions, who brought the matter to his boss, John Ashcroft. With the Attorney General's approval, the prosecutors discussed a possible deal with officials at the Pentagon, including Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, among the most vocal of Lindh's early critics. Rumsfeld agreed to the idea of a plea. Next, a Justice Department lawyer spoke to White House counsel Al Gonzalez, who briefed President Bush. But while the top officials of the U.S. government were ready to strike a deal, Lindh was not. Brosnahan says his client wanted assurances that he could continue his Islamic studies in prison and be given space for the five daily prayers required by his faith.
Pentagon officials, following Rumsfeld's orders, insisted that Lindh retract his claim of being mistreated by the military. Brosnahan says his client never felt he was intentionally abused by guards, though several took snapshots of one another next to his bound form. Defense lawyers wanted the charges alleging ties to al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups dropped. Says Brosnahan: "We were not going to sign anything that he was a terrorist."
It would take 57 hours of back-and-forth phone calls and faxes between defense lawyers and prosecutors, but they hammered out the details by 1:30 a.m. on July 15. Amid the contentious negotiations, his lawyers say, Lindh seemed free of worry. During talks with Hassan in the jail each week, Lindh seemed to have accepted his destiny. "No one can ever hurt me," Lindh recently told him, quoting a Muslim scholar. "If they imprison me, I can devote my time to worship. If they exile me, that is an opportunity to see new lands of God. If they kill me, then they make a martyr of me."
In letters to his mentor Ebrahim Nana, who runs the Mill Valley, Calif., mosque where Lindh converted to Islam, Lindh has written of his dreams about building Islamic schools so American children would not have to go abroad to study. For now, he will recite a special prison prayer Nana has given him: "Our Lord, take us out of this town whose people are oppressors and raise for us from yourself one who will protect us." Says Nana: "Allah has kept him alive for a purpose."
|Re: A Short Course In Miracles (i.e - Sulayman Lin|
|09/30/02 at 23:37:10|
[quote]Amid the contentious negotiations, his lawyers say, Lindh seemed free of worry. During talks with Hassan in the jail each week, Lindh seemed to have accepted his destiny. "No one can ever hurt me," Lindh recently told him, quoting a Muslim scholar. "If they imprison me, I can devote my time to worship. If they exile me, that is an opportunity to see new lands of God. If they kill me, then they make a martyr of me."[/quote]
Subhana'allah, brother Sulayman is something else...he is content with the decree of Allah and has not turned back. He then quotes Shaykhul Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (see Letters from Prison), such a bold and beautiful statement. What an excellent brother....I pale in comparison :'(
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