There’s a hideously inhumane double standard in sentencing for those convicted under charges of supporting terrorism. Something really needs to be done, because it’s plain unfair.
Case-in-point: John Walker Lindh, nicknamed “Johnny Taliban,” is serving a 20-year sentence after being arrested in Afghanistan in December of 2001 for working with the terrorist organization.
Lindh’s parents, his attorneys, and no doubt Lindh himself are asking President Bush to commute or reduce the sentence because it’s harsher than what they say are comparable situations — and besides, Lindh said he’s sorry. I mean, come on!
One example of the sentencing disparity concerns a young Australian named David Hicks who was also caught fighting for the Taliban in Afghanistan in December of 2001.
The plea for compassion came in the wake of a nine-month sentence meted out to Australian David Hicks, 31. Hicks trained with the Taliban and met with Osama bin Laden, famously asking the terror chief why there were no al Qaeda training manuals printed in English.
Hicks pleaded guilty last month to one count of providing material support for terrorism. As part of the plea bargain, Hicks withdrew his claim that he was tortured during interrogation in Afghanistan. Another unusual condition of his reduced sentence requires that he abide by a gag order and not speak publicly about his situation until March 2008. The American and Australian governments have agreed that Hicks will serve the nine months in an Australian jail.
“Given the result in the Hicks case, we are filing, with the president and the Department of Justice, a request for commutation of John Walker Lindh’s sentence,” said Lindh attorney James Brosnahan. “It is very simple. It is a question of proportionality. It is a question of fairness and also a question of the religious experience that John Walker Lindh had that was not in any way directed against the United States.”
First of all, aren’t Muslims angered that this attorney seems to be implying that terrorism is a part of the Islamic “religious experience”? Not as far as I can tell.
At any rate, I’d like to issue a plea to President Bush as well. These two sentences are way too disproportional. Hicks should also be sentenced to 20 years.
Until these sentences are evened up, this miscarriage of justice will be a stain on the legal systems of both Australia and the United States.