Sufi Muslim prison inmate appeals religious rights case
POUND, Va. (AP) — A Virginia inmate says he’s been held in isolation at a Virginia supermax prison for six years and denied access to religious services.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports lawyers for Alfonza Greenhill say the Sufi Muslim is confined to a 12-foot-by-7-foot (3.7-meter-by-2.1-meter) cell for 23 hours a day and cannot attend weekly prayer services or even watch them via closed-circuit television. The prison also has a grooming policy limiting beard length.
Prison officials say the 35-year-old armed robber hasn’t earned access to the services because he refuses to improve his behavior. Greenhill’s lawyers say using religious services as a motivator violates his First Amendment rights.
Greenhill sued in 2016, but a U.S. district judge threw the lawsuit out last year. Greenhill has appealed to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Information from: Richmond Times-Dispatch, http://www.richmond.com