Court: Vegan inmate's rights violated

June 19, 2008 at 1:10 PM
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WORCESTER, Mass., June 19 (UPI) -- A Massachusetts inmate had his civil rights violated by prison officials who denied him a vegan diet, a U.S. federal judge has ruled.

U.S. Chief District Judge Mark L. Wolf found that officials at Old Colony Correctional Center are required to provide vegan meals to inmate Daniel Yeboah-Sefah because of his religious beliefs, The Boston Globe said Thursday.

The ruling in favor of Yeboah-Sefah, who changed his name from Henry K. Boateng, was based on a 2000 federal statute that protects inmates' religious beliefs while incarcerated.

A lawyer for Yeboah-Sefah, who was convicted of killing his 5-year-old son 14 years ago, said the judge's ruling on Tuesday was a victory for inmates' religious rights.

"The statute is designed to protect these people who are stuck in institutionalized settings," attorney Beverly B. Chorbajian said. "We're all free to change our behavior or do things to accommodate our own religious practices. They are not."

The lawyer told the Globe that Yeboah-Sefah wanted vegan meals to ensure he followed the dietary guidelines of his Buddhist faith.

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