American Taliban
Paul Sakuma  /  AP
Marilyn Walker and Frank Lindh sit in front of a photo of their son, John Walker Lindh, during a news conference in San Francisco on Wednesday.
updated 12/17/2008 6:04:04 PM ET 2008-12-17T23:04:04

The parents of American-born Taliban fighter John Walker Lindh are asking President George W. Bush to set their son free before Bush leaves office next month.

Lindh was sentenced to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty in 2002 to serving in the Taliban army, which violated U.S. economic sanctions against Afghanistan at that time.

At a news conference in San Francisco Wednesday, Lindh's mother, Marilyn Walker, asked the president to show mercy during the Christmas season by commuting her son's sentence.

Lindh's father, Frank Lindh, said, "None of us have given up hope that President Bush could find it in his heart to release John."

Lindh initially asked for a commutation in 2004 and his lawyers have renewed the request each year.

The U.S. Department of Justice has never acted on the petition and a spokeswoman didn't immediately return a telephone call.

More on: John Walker Lindh

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