Sikh Inmate Sues Over Right to Wear Turban

May 20, 2005

Source: BBC News

On May 20, 2005 BBC News reported, "a Sikh prison inmate is suing a county in California for violating his religious rights by refusing to allow him to wear a turban. Harpal Singh Cheema, a Sikh activist and human rights lawyer, has been held in jail since 1997 awaiting a decision on his asylum application. The American Civil Liberties Union, which is backing the case, says Mr Cheema feels 'debased and defiled'. Sikh men are required by their faith to cover their heads at all times. Mr Cheema has been detained for eight years. Since 2002 he has been an inmate of Marysville prison, north of the state capital, Sacramento... The ACLU is bringing the case against Yuba County, naming the county sheriff, jail officials and the immigration and Customs department. At a time when the world is watching how America treats its detainees abroad, it is important that our government respects the fundamental rights of people detained in this country."