American-born Taliban fighter John Walker Lindh will have an August trial on his lawsuit seeking permission to hold daily group prayers in a highly restricted cell block at a federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind.
Lindh, 31, claims the prison's policy restricting group prayer in the unit where he's held violates his religious rights. The government contends the restrictions are necessary for security and don't violate inmates' rights. Muslim inmates can hear each other when they pray individually in their cells, it says.
The lawsuit was originally filed in 2009 by two Muslim inmates in the Communications Management Unit, a special unit that holds mostly Muslim inmates whose communications with the outside world are restricted. Lindh, who is serving a 20-year sentence, joined the lawsuit in 2010. The other plaintiffs have dropped out since then as they were released from prison or transferred to other units.