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Judge Rules In Favor Of Iowa Inmate Over Diet

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- A judge has ruled in favor of an Iowa inmate who argued the state violated his religion by serving him food prepared with cookware that had previously touched meat.

The ruling means the state Department of Corrections will give 46-year-old Mahendrakumar Patel prepackaged food. An approved settlement means the state must pay $12,000 for Patel's attorney fees.

Patel claimed in a lawsuit that state officials failed to take his dietary requests seriously. Prison officials said staff tried to provide him with meals that met his religious beliefs.

The Des Moines Register reports Patel has practiced a form of Hinduism since birth. Followers believe no animal should die for a meal.

Patel was sentenced in 2006 to 25 years in prison for stalking and attempting to kill his girlfriend.

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