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Ruling: Al-Amin Not Mistreated

A judge has rejected a petition by lawyers for Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin complaining that the former Black Panther militant was being treated unfairly in jail.

Montgomery County District Judge Lynn Bright on Friday ordered the attorneys to file a separate lawsuit on their claim that the man once known as H. Rap Brown was barred from attending Muslim services and prohibited from wearing traditional Muslim garb.

Al-Amin, 56, is accused of the fatal shooting of Fulton County, Ga., deputy Ricky Kinchen and the wounding of Deputy Aldranon English. Authorities say the two were trying to serve Al-Amin with an arrest warrant at his Atlanta grocery store when the shooting occurred March 16.

Al-Amin was captured Monday west of Montgomery. He is jailed pending an extradition request from Georgia.

English was released Monday from an Atlanta hospital, but still faces physical therapy and reconstructive surgery ahead, officials said. Kinchen was laid to rest Wednesday.

Al-Amin's attorneys have signaled a court fight would ensue before he could be extradited.

The extradition process cannot begin unless a Georgia grand jury indicts Al-Amin. The grand jury met Friday but did not issue an indictment. Prosecutors would not say whether jurors considered Al-Amin's case.

Sheriff D.T. Marshall said Al-Amin is not being singled out and is being treated like any other maximum-security inmate.

The motion filed by Al-Amin's lawyers asked that he be allowed to pray along with other Muslims in jail and spend more than one hour a day outside his cell.

At a hearing Thursday, Al-Amin lawyers argued said he is being treated unfairly by his jailers.

Selma lawyer J.L. Chestnut told Montgomery County District Judge Lynn Bright, "hysteria and paranoia" have surrounded Al-Amin's arrest and confinement. He is being locked up 23 hours a day and allowed only an hour to make phone calls, Chestnut said.

"Is it because he's black? Or is it something he said 30 years ago?" Chestnut asked after the hearing. In his heyday as Rap Brown, the activist split from the non-violent civil rights crusade in the 1960's and declared that "Violence is as American as cherry pie."

He once served a five-year prison sentence for armed robbery in New York, but associates have said his conversion to the Muslim faith changed his focus.

Another defense lawyer, Rose Sanders of Selma, said she would like a probable cause hearing "as quickly as possible" so authorities can present their case against Al-Amin. A hearing has not been scheduled.

Sanders said she felt "so bad" for Kinchen's family, but "persecuting ... the wrong person that's just as bad. I know this man personally. There's no way in the world this man could commit murder."