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Monday, 1 April, 2002, 17:52 GMT 18:52 UK
Setback for 'US Taleban' defence
John Walker Lindh at the time of his arrest in Afghanistan
The defence wanted details of Walker Lindh's capture
Lawyers for John Walker Lindh, the "American Taleban", have suffered a setback as a judge denied their requests for information about his arrest and interrogation.

John Walker Lindh's lawyers released this picture saying it showed him in military custody, strapped to a stretcher and blindfolded
Lawyers released this picture saying it showed Walker Lindh in military custody
In a pre-trial hearing in the federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, the judge rejected almost all the defence demands for details surrounding statements made by Mr Walker Lindh following his capture.

He was arrested in Afghanistan, where he had been fighting for the Taleban, late last year and faces 10 charges including conspiring to kill Americans and providing support to terrorists, including Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda.

Three of the charges carry a maximum life sentence and the other seven could bring an additional 97 years in prison.

Camp X-Ray ban

The prosecution case is built largely on an apparent confession made by Mr Walker Lindh to his American captors.

The defence lawyers believe that details of the conditions under which the statement was made would cast doubt on its value as evidence.

Marilyn Walker and Frank Lindh
Walker Lindh's parents arrived together at the court for the hearing
They asked for the rank and identity of those with whom Mr Walker Lindh had spoken.

But the judge said that the people concerned would only be informed of the defence's request to speak to them.

He also turned down a demand for access to 33 e-mails which lawyers considered important to their defence, saying that their contents should remain confidential.

And he denied their request to speak to prisoners held at the US camp in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

Different portraits

The BBC's Michael Buchanan, who was in court, said the prosecution aimed to depict Mr Walker Lindh as a hardened terrorist.

The defence, however, is portraying him as a misguided young man who had no intention of harming US military personnel.

Mr Walker Lindh converted to Islam while a teenager in California. He then travelled to Yemen and later studied in a madrassa, or religious school, in northern Pakistan.

He fought for the Taleban and is believed to have been trained at one of Osama Bin Laden's training camps.

His trial is due to begin on 26 August.

See also:

07 Feb 02 | Americas
'American Taleban' had Yemen hopes
24 Jan 02 | Americas
Profile: John Walker Lindh
16 Jan 02 | Americas
Walker Lindh's strange odyssey
14 Dec 01 | Americas
Enigma of 'American Taleban'
05 Dec 01 | Americas
US shocked by 'American Taleban'
16 Jan 02 | Americas
US Taleban suspect 'refused lawyer'
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