January 22, 2002

American Taliban Fighter Due in US Soon - Ashcroft

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Accused U.S. Taliban fighter John Walker Lindh was expected to leave Afghanistan soon to stand trial in the United States, Attorney General John Ashcroft said on Monday.

``I don't want to provide a specific time during which he will be in the United States but I expect him to be here shortly,'' Ashcroft said in an interview on CNN's Larry King program.

``He is the subject of a complaint ... and he will be brought to justice,'' Ashcroft said.

Walker, 20, who goes by his mother's name, was charged on Jan. 15, after 45 days of interrogation, with conspiring to kill U.S. nationals in the Afghanistan war and with providing support to Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network.

The charges did not include treason and therefore spared Walker from facing a possible death penalty.

He is currently being held on the USS Bataan, a warship in the northern Arabian Sea.

U.S. officials have said Walker would be handed over to the Department of Justice to face trial in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. Also facing trial there is Zacarias Moussaoui, a French citizen of Moroccan descent, on charges of complicity in the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States that killed more than 3,000 people.

Copyright 2002. Reuters. All rights reserved.

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