“Underwear bomber” to sue US Justice Department for denying his religious rights

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab

A Nigerian man serving life sentences for attempting to detonate a bomb on a plane on Christmas Day 2009 has filed a lawsuit against the US Justice Department, claiming he is being denied his freedom of speech and religious rights.

According to Reuters, in a lawsuit that has been filed in a Colorado federal court, Umar  Farouk Abdulmutallab, 30, claims that authorities at the United States Penitentiary-Administrative Maximum Facility in Florence, where he is serving out his life sentences, are violating his rights by not allowing him to have contact with the outside world or to practice Islam.

Abdulmutallab received multiple life sentences for trying to set off an explosive hidden in his underwear aboard a Northwest Flight 253 in 2009, which he explained was part of his “religious duty” as a Muslim to wage jihad against the United States.

According to the court documents, Abdulmutallab accused the facility staff of prohibiting him to talk to his nieces and nephews, as well as allowing white supremacist inmates to harass him during prayer times.

He also claims the staff repeatedly force fed him using “excessively and unnecessarily painful” methods when, on several occasions, he engaged in a hunger strike to protest.

Mr Abdulmutallab’s lawyer told the New York Times: “Prisoners retain fundamental constitutional rights to communicate with others and have family relationships free from undue interference by the government,” “The restrictions imposed on our client are excessive and unnecessary, and therefore we seek the intervention of the federal court.”

Abdulmutallab, who is Nigerian, was trained at an Al-Qaeda camp in Yemen.

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