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Ohio Amish, Convicted In Beard-Cutting Hate Crime, Gather Together Before Prison Terms Begin

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Freeman Burkholder carries his son to the school house for the end of the school year celebration in Bergholz, Ohio on Tuesday, April 9, 2013. Burkholder is one of the Amish members convicted in a beard and hair cutting scandal against other Amish people.
Freeman Burkholder carries his son to the school house for the end of the school year celebration in Bergholz, Ohio on Tuesday, April 9, 2013. Burkholder is one of the Amish members convicted in a beard and hair cutting scandal against other Amish people.

BERGHOLZ, Ohio — Five more people convicted of hate crimes in hair- and beard-cutting attacks on fellow Amish in Ohio are preparing to enter federal prison.

The Amish community in Bergholz ended the school year early Tuesday to allow some youngsters a few more days of family time before their parents are incarcerated. Four women and one man report Friday to prisons in several states.

Nine more are already behind bars, and two are expected to report to prison later.

All 16 have appealed, arguing that the group's conviction, sentencing and imprisonment in separate facilities in various states violates their constitutional rights and amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. Prosecutors reject that argument.

The community members say they're working together to ensure the group perseveres. They say the remaining men are bearing the burden of extra chores and work.

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