April 5, 2007 in Nation/World

Lindh’s parents want term reduced

The Spokesman-Review
 

The lawyer and parents of American-born Taliban soldier John Walker Lindh asked President Bush on Wednesday to commute his 20-year prison term, citing the case of an Australian man who was sentenced to less than a year for aiding terrorism.

Lindh, 26, was captured in Afghanistan in November 2001 by American forces sent to topple the Taliban after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He was charged with conspiring to kill Americans and support terrorists but pleaded guilty to lesser offenses, including carrying explosives for the now-defunct Taliban government.

Lindh’s lawyer, James Brosnahan, and father said the lighter sentence given to Australian David Hicks should be reflected in Lindh’s case.

Lindh converted to Islam and went to Afghanistan to fight for the Taliban against the Northern Alliance, which received U.S. backing.

LOS ANGELES

Veteran sues after testicle removed

An Air Force veteran has filed a federal claim after an operation at a Veterans Administration hospital in which a healthy testicle was removed instead of a potentially cancerous one.

Benjamin Houghton, 47, was to have had his left testicle removed June 14 at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center because there was a chance it could harbor cancer cells. It also was atrophied and painful.

But doctors mistakenly removed the right testicle, according to medical records and the claim, which seeks $200,000 for future care and unspecified damages. He still hasn’t had the other testicle removed.

Houghton, his wife, Monica, and their attorney, Dr. Susan Friery, said they hoped to get the VA’s attention by going public with the situation.

Dr. Dean Norman, chief of staff for the Greater Los Angeles VA system, has formally apologized to Houghton and his wife.

GREENSBURG, Pa.

Time change blamed in arrest

A high school student says he was wrongly accused of calling in a bomb threat in part because school officials hadn’t adjusted their clocks for daylight-saving time.

Cody Webb, 15, called a school district hotline to listen to a recorded message about school delays at 3:12 a.m. EDT on March 11, according to his cell phone records.

Hempfield Area School District officials thought someone with a blocked phone number called in a bomb threat just five minutes later, but they were an hour off because their system hadn’t adjusted for the time change that weekend, Webb’s attorney Tim Andrews said.

Webb refused to confess and spent 12 days in a juvenile detention center.

A judge released him when a state trooper failed to show up at a hearing, then dismissed the charges March 27.

District solicitor Dennis Slyman said police investigating the bomb threat never asked school officials about when the clocks were reset.


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