Election Section

Walker Lindh pleaded ‘Please don’t kill me,’ defense motion says

By Larry Margasak, The Associated Press
Friday May 24, 2002

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – John Walker Lindh pleaded “please don’t kill me” as U.S. troops took the captured Taliban soldier to a U.S. military camp in Afghanistan, his defense lawyers said Thursday. 

A Marine accompanying the prisoner told Lindh to shut up, the lawyers said in a written motion. 

The defense team wants to subpoena the Marine, along with other U.S. military and civilian personnel who were in contact with the California-raised Lindh in Afghanistan and aboard Navy ships. 

Their aim is to find testimony and photographs that would demonstrate, at a June 17 hearing, that Lindh did not kill Americans and that he was questioned while imprisoned under inhumane conditions. 

The lawyers contend Lindh was bound in a metal container, sometimes naked in freezing weather, at the time he was questioned late last year. The government says Lindh waived his right to remain silent and have an attorney present. 

A Marine identified as USMC No. 11 “was present at Camp Rhino (in Afghanistan) at a critical time,” the motion said. “He observed Mr. Lindh’s conditions of incarceration and can testify as to his state of mind just prior to interrogation.” 

For example, the motion said, USMC No. 11 “reports that during the transport to the metal container at Camp Rhino, Lindh kept saying, ‘Please don’t kill me.”’ 

Lindh was interrogated at the camp and made statements the government is likely to use at trial. Jury selection is scheduled for Aug. 26. 

A government criminal complaint filed in January quoted Lindh as saying he learned in June 2001, while a Taliban military trainee, that alleged terror mastermind Osama bin Laden had sent people to the United States for suicide operations. 

The complaint also said Lindh and four other trainees met for about five minutes with bin Laden, who thanked them for participating in his holy war.