Sholom Rubashkin was convicted a few months back of 86 counts of federal financial fraud related to his kosher slaughterhouse. As he awaits sentencing, he has been kept locked up, on the grounds that he is allegedly a flight risk (among other things, he faces another trial for allegedly employing illegal immigrants). Now, Agudath Israel, the American governing body of ultra-Orthodoxy, and several other ultra-Orthodox groups have taken up his cause: they have penned a letter (which we got via email) to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder requesting Rubashkin’s release pending sentencing, and calling his current place behind bars “unjustifiable, even inhumane.”

Because Rubashkin is observant, he may only eat cold food while in prison, according to the letter. He has also not been able to pray in a minyan. Furthermore, the letter says, he is the father of ten; one son is autistic and heavily dependent upon his father.

The letter perhaps begins to test the sympathy of neutral observers toward the end, when it argues,

We recognize that Mr. Rubashkin has been convicted of serious federal offenses, but they were not offenses that endangered society. Employing illegal aliens and committing bank fraud by compromising the security for a bank loan do not warrant the extreme draconian sanction of pre-sentencing imprisonment.

If breaking laws does not endanger society, then the broken laws probably should not be laws in the first place.

Earlier: Rubashkin Found Guilty of Fraud Charges