Louisiana state prisons can’t justify banning inmates from receiving copies of a newspaper published by the Nation of Islam, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday. A three-judge panel from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a federal judge’s ruling that the David Wade Correctional Center must deliver copies of The Final Call newspaper to Henry Leonard, a convicted murderer.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana backed Leonard’s claims that the Homer prison violated his right to free exercise of religion.

Prison officials argued the newspaper contains racist rhetoric that could provoke an outbreak of violence. However, during a 5th Circuit hearing in August, a lawyer for Attorney General James “Buddy” Caldwell’s office couldn’t point to any violent acts that could be linked to The Final Call.

“This is a clear statement by the 5th Circuit that there is nothing in The Final Call that justifies censorship,” said Marjorie Esman, executive director of the ACLU of Louisiana.

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