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Joan Andrews Bell (L) and Paulette Harlow (Center)Screenshot

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) – In what appears to be a targeted persecution, the Department of Justice has directly infringed on the religious liberty of a peaceful Catholic pro-lifer who has been placed on arrest, insisting that she be prohibited from attending church despite the defendant’s express request to be allowed to attend Mass in addition to doctor’s visits.

RELATED: Biden DOJ’s treatment of jailed pro-lifers meets international definitions of torture

Paulette Harlow, 75, a defendant in the Washington, D.C., FACE Act trials and a devout Catholic, has been refused allowance to attend Mass at a Catholic church while under house arrest despite her express request to Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly while in court.

LifeSiteNews correspondent Louis Knuffke was present in the courtroom when the request was made after conviction was pronounced by the heavily pro-abortion jury last fall. After Harlow’s legal counsel requested the religious accommodation for his client, who is a devout practicing Catholic, DOJ lead prosecutor Sanjay Patel specifically motioned that the request be denied, a motion that Judge Kollar-Kotelly obligingly conceded.

Harlow suffers from multiple health conditions that made it impossible for her to be incarcerated as her fellow defendants were upon conviction on the same charges. In a move that appears to be vindictive and targeted, Patel, who wanted Harlow incarcerated immediately, settled for house arrest with restrictions placed on all movement outside the house with the minimal exception of visits to the doctor, expressly denying allowance to attend Mass.

In October, while serving in-house detention, Harlow told LifeSiteNews, “The prosecutor really wants me in jail. I can go to the doctor, but I can’t go to church. I can’t go to Mass. I can’t go to the sacraments. I have to have a priest come here for Mass, which is once a week.”

WATCH: EXCLUSIVE: Pro-life rescuer Paulette Harlow explains what inspires her to help save the unborn

Patel had previously mocked Harlow’s health conditions in open court. Because of her poor health, which includes debilitating diabetes, Hashimoto’s disease, and severe back pain requiring the use of a wheelchair, Harlow was transported from Massachusetts to Washington, D.C., in a special-needs van equipped with a mattress for her to lie down. The elderly woman underwent a procedure to alleviate throat strictures from a hiatal hernia three days before her pre-trial hearing on October 20 and was prevented from standing trial in September because she was in the hospital. Her trial was interrupted periodically to allow her to rest or receive medical attention, and she was escorted around the courthouse in a wheelchair.

Patel mocked her medical accommodations as an attempt to “pull a stunt” in an effort to thwart the trial. His mockery shocked those present in court.

RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Elderly jailed pro-lifer denied urgent medical treatment for ‘excruciating’ hip pain

LifeSiteNews has also learned that the Catholic inmates at the Alexandria Detention Center do not have Mass offered for them every Sunday, and that when Mass is scheduled it is often canceled due to frequent prison lockdowns.

A friend of the pro-life inmates, who has direct contact with them but who wished to remain anonymous, told LifeSiteNews that in the Alexandria prison, “They have a lot of fights and things like that.” The person continued, “And when they have a lot of lockdowns there — almost every day there’s lockdown — and when you’re locked down, then you can’t do anything else. You just have to be locked down. You have to stay in your cell. Everybody has to be in their own cell.”

The person lamented that in the prison, the Catholic inmates “don’t have Mass every Sunday like they should.”

“They’re Catholics! They should have Mass every Sunday. If this was another faith, you can bet your bottom dollar they’d be having what they were supposed to have. That’d be a big uproar. It’d be a big uproar,” LifeSite was told.

The sentencing for the jailed pro-lifers will take place on May 14, 15, and 17.

LifeSiteNews’ extensive coverage of the D.C. FACE Act trials can be found here.

WATCH: BREAKING | Biden DOJ Accused of Brutal Treatment of Jailed Pro-Lifer — Prolonged Solitary, Shackles


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