Polygamist Leader Warren Jeffs Force-Fed in Northern Arizona Jail

We almost forgot about Warren Jeffs when he was thrown in prison to serve two consecutive five-to-life sentences.

But his name's bubbled up again. And, this time, it's not connected to the rape or forced marriage of underage girls: Warren Jeffs has decided not to eat.

Authorities say Jeffs has refused food for the second time in less than a week and is being force-fed by tube in his Kingman, Arizona jail cell.

The most recent set of feedings began on Friday after Jeffs became weak after a long fast. He then resumed eating on his own, but was force-fed on Tuesday yet again when he refused food over the weekend. According to a July 31 letter from jail Medical Director Kirsten Mortinson, Jeff's' condition was so serious that "death could be imminent without immediate intervention."

Jeffs' fasting appears directly related to significant court hearings involving the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints: Last week there was a hearing in Utah on the sale of property that used to belong to the church.

"Mr. Jeffs is a deeply religious man and sometimes engages in lengthy religious practices while in jail. When he does, he declines food and beverages and this sometimes occurs," Jeff's' lawyer, Michael Piccarreta, told the Associated Press. "If you look at other religious and political people who have been wrongly incarcerated, you'll see others have gone through this."

Jeffs may be on hunger strike, but he's certainly no Gandhi: His convicted offenses include two counts of rape as an accomplice, and he's awaiting trial for two other charges related to underage marriages of sect girls. He is also facing new charges of bigamy, rape, and sexual assault on a child -- charges that came out of raids on a church ranch near Eldorado, Texas, last year.

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Malia Politzer
Contact: Malia Politzer