‘Underwear Bomber’ Files Lawsuit Claiming US Justice Department Denies Him Free Speech, Religious Rights
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who is currently serving multiple life sentences for attempting to set off a bomb in his underwear on a plane on Christmas Day in 2009 has now filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice, claiming that the department is denying him his free speech and religious rights.
According to Reuters, in a lawsuit that has been filed in a Colorado federal court, Abdulmutallab claims that authorities at the United States Penitentiary-Administrative Maximum Facility in Florence, Colo., where he is serving out his life sentences are violating his rights by not allowing him to have contact with the outside world or practice Islam.
The 30-year-old is held in long-term solitary confinement at the facility, according to the lawsuit. His lawsuit claims that staff repeatedly force-fed him during a hunger strike using “excessively and unnecessarily painful” methods.
Abdulmutallab also claims that the DOJ went too far in restricting his contact with the outside world, even prohibiting him from speaking to his nieces and nephews because his confinement was based on “special administrative measures imposed on national security grounds,” Reuters notes.
Furthermore, white supremacist inmates were also allowed to torment him during his prayer times, the lawsuit notes.
“Prisoners retain fundamental constitutional rights to communicate with others and have family relationships free from undue interference by the government,” Gail Johnson, his attorney, said in a statement to the New York Times, as reported by Reuters. “The restrictions imposed on our client are excessive and unnecessary, and therefore we seek the intervention of the federal court.”
Abdulmutallab, who attempted his attack on a flight en route from Amsterdam . to Detroit, called the plan part of his “religious duty” as a Muslim. The bomb caused a fire on the . Northwest Airlines flight, which had 289 people on board. However, passengers were able to restrain him.
Abdulmutallab, who is Nigerian, was trained at an al Qaeda camp in Yemen by the U.S. born-Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, Reuters notes.