The jury in Cleveland, Ohio, took five days to reach their verdict, but the conviction of an Amish sect leader and 15 of his followers for federal hate crimes means they will spend years in prison.
The case has shaken the reclusive religious community, which the prosecution said was riven by a religious dispute.
“These were no mere haircuts. These were violent attacks that left the victims in this case so shaken, degraded and scared that they felt compelled to call on local law enforcement for their own protection even though they do not typically do so,” said US attorney Steven Dettlebach.
Sect leader Samuel Mullet senior was held responsible for a string of attacks his followers committed on Amish men and women , forcibly cutting their hair, which the Amish never cut in a sign of their religious piety.
The defence alleged the attacks were family or financial affairs, not religious, and could thus not be classed as hate crimes.
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