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CLEVELAND, Ohio — Attorneys for the local Amish sect convicted of hate crimes for cutting the hair and beards of other Amish members are now claiming their clients’ constitutional rights are being violated.

An appeal filed in federal court seeks the release of the 16 Amish convicted in the 11 attacks across southeast Ohio.

The group’s leader, Samuel Mullet Sr., was sentenced to 15 years in prison, while the rest were sentenced to anywhere from one to seven years.

The attorneys claim that holding Mullet and others at prisons in several different states amounts to cruel and unusual punishment because their Amish families cannot travel to visit them.

For extended coverage on this case, click here.