A Nigerian man serving multiple life sentences in the United States for trying to bomb a plane has sued the U.S. Justice Department, Federal Bureau of Prisons and Attorney General Jeff Sessions for denying him free speech and religious rights.
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, popularly known as the ‘Underwear bomber’ had on Christmas Day 2009 attempted to set-off a bomb hidden in his underwear during an Amsterdam to Detroit flight.Abdulmutallab, who was then 22, was sentenced to life imprisonment and jailed at the United States Penitentiary-Administrative Maximum Facility in Florence, Colorado.
But in a suit filed in a Colorado federal court on Wednesday, the 30-year-old said authorities in the prison were violating his constitutional rights by not allowing him to communicate with the outside world or practice his religion as a Muslim.
The lawsuit alleged that once Abdulmutallab got to prison, he was immediately placed in long-term solitary confinement and placed under special administrative measures (SAMs) that prohibited his communication with most of his family members up until last year when he was allowed to talk to his sister.
According to reports, he’s still not allowed to talk to any of his nieces or nephews.
The lawsuit further accused staff at the facility of repeatedly force feeding him during a hunger strike using “excessively and unnecessarily painful” methods.
It alleged that white supremacist inmates were also permitted to harass him during prayer times.
“Prisoners retain fundamental constitutional rights to communicate with others and have family relationships free from undue interference by the government,” said Gail Johnson, his attorney, in a statement to the New York Times.
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab wore this underwear outfitted with explosives for three weeks before the failed bomb attempt on Christmas Day 2009.
“The restrictions imposed on our client are excessive and unnecessary, and therefore we seek the intervention of the federal court.”
Abdulmutallab trained at an al Qaeda camp in Yemen under the direction of U.S.-born Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki (pictured below), according to the Justice Department.Anwar al-Awlaki, who is a Colorado State graduate, had called for the killing of Americans before he was likely killed in a drone strike in 2011.
Now, I know most of you may not agree with my headline, but that’s what his lawsuit metaphorically boils down to at the end of the day.
If he didn’t attempt to kill innocent people on the plane, he wouldn’t have ended up in prison, or solitary confinement, or denied visitation and religious rights.
If that bomb had gone off, the passengers in the plane would have never gotten to see or talk to their nieces and nephews again. They would have never been able to visit their relatives or practice their religion ever again.
Umar was one of the first to put Nigeria on the map as a terrorist country and for that, we will never forgive him.
His father, Alhaji Umaru Mutallab, is a wealthy Nigerian banker and businessman, who has 16 children (as at 2009 when he was last profiled). Umar is the son of his second wife, Aisha. The Times in 2009 described Alhaji Mutallab as being “one of the richest men in Africa.” He is a former Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria and former Nigerian Federal Commissioner for Economic Development.
In a country where more than half its citizens go to bed hungry, cannot afford good quality health care and have little means of acquiring a sound formal education, Umar came from a highly privileged background. He had absolutely no good reason or motive to end up as the “Underwear Bomber.” A greater population of underprivileged Nigerians would have killed to be in his shoes…and would have made better use of the opportunities he had to a sound Western education.
I don’t care what the American authorities do to him. He’s a bad egg and we have no need for him. Here’s a quick look at some reactions from Nigerians and Nigerian-Americans on social media in response to his lawsuit. These comments were drawn from social commentator, Ugonna Ufere’s page on Facebook...
“This boy is the first Nigerian to be a modern terrorist. Very annoying. – Akunna”
“That’s what you get when you send your kids to middle east to study, probably with stolen public funds. – JRichy”
“Why is he still alive? Abeg he needs some death injection, foolish child, mtcheew! – Glory”
“Wow, hope u still remember dat Trump is still d president not Obama? Rubbish boy! – Chizoba”
“This guy shouldn’t bring up this shame again. He should stay there and eat pizza and burger till his brain returns to default. – Chimamanda”
“Wasted fine boy. – Odi”
“He still has mouth to be talking his rights. He’s lucky he wasn’t executed right away, like he intended for hundreds aboard his plane. Fool! – Nen”
“What nonsense right is he talking about? And if the bomb in your underpants went off? Silly boy! – Ogonnaya”
“I guess he doesn’t know Trump is in power😅😅 – Ify“
“Why haven’t they killed him? They need to stop wasting my tax money and execute that piece of trash! – Ijeh”
“Where are all the homosexuals in the prison? By now he shld be wearing pampers. – Dooshima”
“He should go and sit down, he is a national disgrace. Nigeria should deny his citizenship any how. – Juliet”
“This misled rich guy thinks only he has a right. The intended victims had no right to life? You made your choice, so stick to it. – Mohammed“