Judge Deciding Prison Group Prayer Case

Inmate Says Banning Group Prayer Violates Rights

A judge is now considering whether the rights of American-born Taliban fighter John Walker Lindh are being violated because daily group prayers are banned at the Indiana prison where he's being held.

The government rested its case Thursday after a four-day trial in Indianapolis in Lindh's lawsuit. Lindh said the ban violates Muslim inmates' religious rights.

U.S. District Judge Jane Magnus Stinson didn't immediately rule, but gave both sides 75 days to submit final documents in the case.

Lindh said the prison policy violates a 1993 law that bars the government from curtailing religious expression without a compelling interest.

The government said the restrictions are necessary for security and religious fairness. The prison allows weekly religious gatherings.

Lindh pleaded guilty in 2002 to aiding the former Taliban government in Afghanistan.

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