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Heather Idoni with Sister DeeDee ByrneJim Hale/LifeSiteNews

WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) — A jailed pro-life prisoner has been paraded in court in full shackles and says she has been punished with prolonged solitary confinement.   

Heather Idoni, a defendant in the Washington, D.C., FACE (Freedom to Access Clinic Entrances) Act trials, told LifeSiteNews that she has been subjected to 22 days of solitary confinement. In an exclusive interview, she said that she received this punishment for sharing food with fellow prisoners. Idoni alleged that she was allowed to walk outside her cell only for two hours in the middle of the night each day and that the lights of her cell were continually kept on. Idoni has been in prison since she was convicted last autumn.  

READ: Pro-lifers worldwide urged to write to judge who will sentence FACE Act prisoners   

Fellow pro-life advocate Cal Zastro, who joined Idoni in another traditional pro-life rescue in Tennessee and has also been convicted in Nashville of violating the FACE Act, told LifeSiteNews that when Idoni was brought into the courtroom for a pre-trial hearing in Detroit for yet another FACE Act trial, the U.S. marshal had the middle-aged woman shackled at the wrists, waist, and feet, as if she were a dangerous criminal. 

Zastro said that, upon entering the courtroom, the shocked judge ordered the shackles removed. Initially the marshal agreed to remove the shackles from only one wrist to allow Idoni freedom to write, a concession necessary for her to take notes, as she was then representing herself in court. Only at the insistence of the indignant judge were the shackles of both wrists finally removed, although the marshal left the bars around her waist and feet.

Idoni faces over 50 years of incarceration in federal prison and over $1 million in fines for taking part in several peaceful pro-life rescues in Washington, D.C., Michigan, and Tennessee. Should Idoni receive maximum penalties in these cases, in which previous counts can be compounded to heighten subsequent sentences, she will have been sentenced to the longest prison term in the history of the U.S. civil disobedience movement for human rights. 

READ: Not enough Republicans say the truth: Abortion is an abomination because it kills babies 

Idoni has continued to witness to her faith during her imprisonment and mistreatment. She told LifeSiteNews by phone from jail that she knows “God is going to be glorified” and that during her imprisonment she has “never not felt His presence.” 

Anticipating possible incarceration for participating in the 2022 pro-life rescue in Washington, D.C., Idoni said she prayed for two years for everyone she would meet in prison. Although she has encountered prisoners involved in satanism and witchcraft, Idoni said she believes God “is able to deliver me.” 

Her time behind bars has not been without reward. Idoni shared the story of a man she met while being transferred between facilities, who told her he had taken his girlfriend to get an abortion in Los Angeles. The two were dissuaded from killing their child when they encountered some pro-life sidewalk counselors outside the clinic. The man told Idoni that thanks to heroic women like her, his baby was due in two months. Idoni said he “was all smiles” when leaving the transportation vehicle. 

READ: Pro-life prisoner took part in DC rescue ‘as if the life of the Preborn Christ Child was at stake’  

Sentencing for Idoni and the other “D.C. Nine” pro-lifers will take place on May 14, 15, and 17. 

Sign the prayer pledge for nine pro-life rescuers facing a decade in prison. 

The United Nations document on international rules for the humane treatment of prisoners, titled United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules), prohibits solitary confinement, “in excess of 15 consecutive days” (Rule 44), deeming it “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” The Nelson Mandela Rules (Rule 43) also forbid the “[p]lacement of a prisoner in a dark or constantly lit cell.”  

Idoni’s lawyer Robert Dunn told LifeSiteNews that the although the jail may be entitled to its own rules, “they should conform” to the international standards set forth in the Mandela Rules. 

Meanwhile, according to the International Justice Resource Center, international case law holds that humiliating a prisoner, including detainment in leg irons and handcuffs, can qualify as torture or inhumane treatment, and a violation of dignity.   

LifeSiteNews also reached out to prison officials at the Alexandria, Virginia, detention center. A marshal stated that they can’t divulge any information specific to an inmate.

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

READ: Want to send letters of solidarity to jailed pro-life heroes? Here’s how