‘Underwear bomber’ sues US government over treatment in prison

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‘Underwear bomber’ sues US government over treatment in prison

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U.S. Marshals Office
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was convicted in 2012.

The “underwear bomber” has filed legal briefs against the United States government, protesting his treatment in federal prison.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab of Nigeria, who is serving life sentences after his conviction for his failed attempted to set off a bomb on an international flight near Detroit in 2009, filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the Federal Bureau of Prisons and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, CBS News reported.

Abdulmutallab cited violations of his First, Fifth and Eighth Amendment rights, and claims his rights also were violated under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.

On Christmas Day in 2009, Abdulmutallab tried to blow up an international flight -- with a bomb sewn into his underwear -- bound from Amsterdam to Detroit on behalf of al Qaeda, Reuters reported. He had called his attempt part of his “religious duty” as a Muslim to wage jihad against the United States.

Abdulmutallab, 30, who has been in federal custody since the failed bombing attempt, is serving four terms of life imprisonment plus 50 years, The Denver Post reported. He was convicted in 2012 on charges including attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction on a commercial airliner. The Northwest Airlines flight had 289 passengers on board.

In a lawsuit filed in a Colorado federal court Wednesday, Abdulmutallab said authorities in a maximum security prison were violating his constitutional rights by holding him in long-term solitary confinement under Special Administrative Measures (SAMs), CBS News reported.

According to the complaint, “The SAMs imposed on Mr. Abdulmutallab prohibit him from having any communication whatsoever with more than 7.5 billion people, the vast majority of people on the planet.”

Abdulmutallab’s SAMs “severely restrict his ability to practice his religion,” the complaint alleges. Abdulmutallab, a Muslim, is not allowed to “participate in group prayer.”

The lawsuit accused the staff at the United States Penitentiary-Administrative Maximum Facility in Florence, Colorado of repeatedly force feeding Abdulmutallab during a hunger strike using “excessively and unnecessarily painful” methods, Reuters reported.

White supremacist inmates were also permitted to harass him during prayer times, according to the lawsuit.

“Prisoners retain fundamental constitutional rights to communicate with others and have family relationships free from undue interference by the government,” Abdulmutallab’s attorney, Gail Johnson, said in a statement to the New York Times.

“The restrictions imposed on our client are excessive and unnecessary, and therefore we seek the intervention of the federal court.”

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