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Giuliani: Consider death penalty for American Taliban fighter

Mayor Rudy Giuliani
Officials should consider "the maximum penalty" against Taliban fighter John Walker Lindh, Mayor Rudy Giuliani said.  

NEW YORK (CNN) -- New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani weighed in Sunday on the fate of an American captured with Taliban fighters, and he came down heavy.

Prosecutors, he said, should consider pursuing the death penalty against John Walker Lindh.

Lindh, 20, a native of the San Francisco, California, area, was discovered after he survived a prisoner uprising at Mazar-e Sharif last month. He and several hundred non-Afghan Taliban troops had surrendered to Northern Alliance forces days before they staged a deadly and unsuccessful prisoner revolt at a compound in northern Afghanistan.

"I don't know all the facts of the case, but I certainly think that serious consideration should be given to the maximum penalty that the law allows," Giuliani said.

"When you commit treason against the United States of America, particularly at a time when the U.S. is in peril of attack and further attack, I believe the death penalty is the appropriate remedy to consider."

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Before he became mayor, Giuliani earned recognition as a federal prosecutor known for his tough and comprehensive crackdown on criminals, especially organized crime. He brought this mentality to City Hall, effectively decreasing crime in New York during his tenure.

Walker could be an example to others who may consider taking up arms with American enemies, Giuliani said.

The death penalty is "justified and (an) effective deterrent for other people doing the same thing," Giuliani said.

Lindh is currently in U.S. custody aboard the USS Pelileu in the Arabian Sea, having been transferred there earlier this week after stays at a U.S. Marine base in southern Afghanistan.

Gen. Tommy Franks, chief of U.S. forces in Southwest Asia, said Saturday that no decision has been made on Lindh's future. Described as a "battlefield detainee," Lindh could face a variety of charges in either a U.S. civilian court or a military tribunal.



• New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani

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