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Convicted Amish Fight For Release

Attorneys for a group of Amish men and women found guilty of hate crimes in eastern Ohio are arguing that the group's conviction, sentencing and imprisonment in separate facilities across the country violates their constitutional rights and amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. Those arguments come in recent filings in federal court in Akron. The filings seek the release of seven of 16 Amish convicted in September in beard- and hair-cutting attacks that were meant to shame fellow Amish they believed were straying from strict religious interpretations. The filings ask that the group be released pending the outcome of its appeals. The Amish group's leader was sentenced to 15 years in prison. The rest of the group got sentences of one to seven years.