One of these two gets private, unsupervised visits with family and full access to religious observances.
There is a young person held captive in Massachusetts today who is not allowed to participate in religious ceremonies, or visit family without government agents watching.
No, it’s not accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. It’s 15-year-old mitochondrial disease patient and nonterrorist Justina Pelletier.
U.S. District Court Judge George O’Toole Jr. ruled Wednesday that the now-20-year-old charged with four deaths and injuring more than 260 people should be able to see his sisters without an FBI agent present. The feds can appeal, but he says their case would have to be “pretty convincing.”
“Can you believe it?” That was Jennifer Pelletier’s response when I told her about the ruling. She’s Justina’s older sister — and every visit she has with her wheelchair-bound sister is held under the watchful eye of agents from both the state’s Department of Children and Families and — since the story went national — armed state police. The family is only allowed one visit a week, for one hour a week, with their own sick daughter.
“It’s hard for me to say this,” Justina’s father Lou told me Wednesday, “but a terrorist is getting better treatment in Massachusetts right now than a sick teenager who’s done nothing wrong.”
Not only that, but Tsarnaev is guaranteed his right to practice Islam–the same religion that inspired him to maim and kill–while in custody. Not Justina:
This Sunday is Easter. And just like every Easter, Christmas and other Catholic holy days since her captivity, Justina will not be allowed to attend religious services. Her family, which is devoutly Catholic, wants to know: Why?
Thursday morning Jennifer Pelletier asked a representative of DCF why the family couldn’t take Justina to Easter Mass this Sunday. The answer, she said: “Because we’re not open.”
What — state workers suddenly got something against overtime?
State Rep. Marc Lombardo (R-Billerica) has written a letter to Patrick, pleading with him to let Justina Pelletier “exercise her religious freedoms … by permitting her to attend Easter services with her family.”
Lombardo points out that Patrick, through executive power, could order this with a stroke of a pen. Lou Pelletier reminds us that Patrick has the pardon power to literally release convicted prisoners.
Where are the Catholics? Where’s the Diocese of Boston? Where’s Cardinal O’Malley? Forget Tufts vs. BCH–why aren’t Catholics demanding that this devout family be allowed to attend the most sacred Mass of the year?
Because I guarantee you that, if this were the case of Justina bin Ahmed, Gov. Patrick would be driving her to Friday prayers himself.