In New York, prisoners are fighting for the right to observe the solar eclipse: details

In New York, prisoners are fighting for the right to observe the solar eclipse: details



In New York state, USA, six inmates are suing the state Department of Corrections over its decision to close prisons during the April 8 total solar eclipse.

In the lawsuit, the prisoners claim that the ban on “participating in a religiously significant event” violates their rights, writes Associated Press.

It is noted that among the plaintiffs are people of different faiths: a Baptist, a Muslim, a Seventh-day Adventist, two followers of Santeria (an Afro-Caribbean religion that combines paganism and belief in Catholic saints), and an atheist.

“A solar eclipse is a rare natural phenomenon that has great religious significance for many,” – the lawsuit says.

The men say that this phenomenon is mentioned in the Bible, in the description of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, as well as in Islamic works – when the son of the Prophet Muhammad dies.

They also say that the solar eclipse, which was last seen in the US in 2017 and the next one in 2044, “calls for gathering, celebration, worship and prayer.”

The document says that last month — before the system-wide lockdown was announced — the atheist plaintiff received special permission from authorities to observe the eclipse. The state even provided him with glasses for this.

Four others later also applied for permission, but were denied, arguing that the solar eclipse was not a holy day for their religions. The sixth prisoner said that he never received an answer.

Thomas Maley, a spokesman for the Department of Corrections, said the department does not comment on lawsuits but reviews all requests that involve religion. Those related to observing the eclipse are currently under consideration, he said.

Daniel Martuscello III, the department’s acting commissioner, issued a memorandum on March 11 announcing that beginning next Monday (April 8 – ed.), all state correctional facilities will operate on a weekend schedule.

This means that prisoners will remain in their living quarters, except in an emergency, from 2pm to 5pm, which are usually the hours for outdoor recreation in prisons.

According to Martusello, the department will distribute protective glasses to staff and inmates so they can watch the eclipse from their workplaces or living quarters.

It is expected that eclipse will be visible in western and northern areas of the state, including Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Lake Placid and Plattsburgh.

It will be visible in these parts of the state around 3:15 p.m. local time, and the phenomenon will only last for a few minutes.

We used to told about 10 strange things that happen during a solar eclipse.


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