Montgomery judge tells Muhammad to end hunger strike or be force-fed

Sniper shootings coverage
Convicted sniper John Allen Muhammad was ordered yesterday by a Montgomery County Circuit Court judge to end his hunger strike or he will be force-fed if his health deteriorates.

Muhammad, 44, had refused to eat since his transfer Monday from death row in Virginia to the Montgomery County Correctional Facility near Clarksburg to await trial on six counts of murder in the 2002 Washington-area sniper killings.

After requesting a vegan diet, Muhammad would not eat the vegan meals provided, according to court documents - insisting he be allowed to choose the day, time and diet for his meals.

He was also protesting for more access to legal papers - seven large boxes with about 80 pounds of papers in each. Correctional officers had allowed Muhammad to look through one box at a time, he complained.

Judge James L. Ryan issued the order yesterday afternoon.

Arthur Wallenstein, director of the county corrections department, declined to say whether Muhammad was eating or being force-fed last night.