U.S. Tenth Circuit - The FindLaw 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

'Underwear Bomber' Sues Over Alleged Mistreatment

The Administrative Maximum Facility in Florence, Colorado houses some of the most hated mass murderers in the world.

They include Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, and terrorists in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Twin Towers.

Then there's the "Underwear Bomber." He's in the news again, claiming prison officials have mistreated him.

Force-Feeding

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is serving four life sentences, plus 50 years without parole, after being convicted of attempting to blow up a flight on Christmas Day in 2009. He tried to detonate explosives hidden in his underwear, which caught fire but failed to kill the 289 people on board.

In a federal lawsuit, he alleges that he has been forced into solitary confinement, ridiculed because he is Muslim, and force-fed "non-halal" food that was against his religion.

Abdulmutallab says prison officials are violating his constitutional rights, including First Amendments rights of free speech and association. They have prevented him from participating in group prayers and other practices, he says.

To protest the treatment, he has repeatedly undertaken hunger strikes. It is a recurring problem for government officials trying to manage prisoners who try to starve themselves to death.

Retaliation

When Abdulmutallab complained about the alleged mistreatment, he said guards retaliated against him. One time, they put a feeding tube down his windpipe instead of his esophagus.

Gail Johnson, his attorney, is asking a judge to stop the forced-feedings and to keep her client out of solitary confinement.

"The restrictions imposed on our client are excessive and unnecessary, and therefore we seek intervention from the court," she said.

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