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Originally published Thursday, January 29, 2009 at 9:30 AM

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Conn. judge hearing inmate force-feeding case

A Connecticut judge is hearing arguments on whether state prison officials can force-feed an inmate on a hunger strike.

HARTFORD, Conn. —

A Connecticut judge is hearing arguments on whether state prison officials can force-feed an inmate on a hunger strike.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut is suing the Department of Correction on inmate William Coleman's behalf. It claims the agency is violating his rights to refuse medical treatment and exercise free speech.

Arguments started Thursday morning in Hartford Superior Court. Coleman attended wearing leg irons and taking voluminous notes as a corrections official testified.

Coleman is a British citizen serving an eight-year sentence for rape.

He says he's on a hunger strike to protest a corrupt judicial system. Prison officials have a court order allowing them to force-feed Coleman when they determine his health is in danger.

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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