Convicted Rapist Fights for Right to Starve Himself to Death
William Coleman is protesting conviction, claims innocence
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 1, 2011 4:34 PM CST
William Coleman takes a sip from a paper cup at a hearing in Superior Court in Hartford, Conn., Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2009.   (AP Photo/Bob Child, Pool)
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(Newser) – William Coleman wants to starve himself to death in prison, and now a court has given him the right to argue for doing so. The 49-year-old British man was convicted to eight years in a US prison on charges of raping his wife, and has been attempting a hunger strike since 2005, the Daily Mail reports. Coleman, who claims innocence, accepts only liquids, but authorities have been allowed to force-feed him. That could change now that the Connecticut Supreme Court has agreed to hear his case.

Coleman asserts that he has the right to refuse medical treatment, and believes that includes eating. He has been force-fed 12 times, an experience he says is so painful that each time he agreed to return to a liquid diet: He and his lawyers call the force-feeding torture, and the ACLU is backing him. Coleman has dropped from 238 pounds to 140, and at one point weighed only 126. He is protesting his conviction, which was based largely on his ex-wife’s testimony. She accused him of rape after he applied for full custody of their two children.