A man convicted of trying to blow up a plane bound for Detroit with explosives hidden in his underwear on Christmas Day, 2009, is suing the federal government over his treatment in prison.
The lawsuit alleges the U.S. Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Prisons are imposing cruel and unusual punishment on the so-called “Underwear Bomber.”
Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab unsuccessfully tried to detonate explosives from his seat on the jet, burning his groin in the process, before being subdued.
Abdulmutallab, who is Muslim, alleges that guards encouraged inmates to insult his religion during his prayer time and left sticky liquid on his prayer rug and Quran after searching his cell.
He says he went on several hunger strikes as a protest.
But he claims he was forced to eat non-Muslim food in an excessively painful manner, including once having a feeding tube inserted in his windpipe rather than his esophagus, which he says mimicked the sensation of drowning.
The lawsuit argues the treatment violates Abdulmutallab’s right to free speech and due process, stating that prison walls do not form “a barrier between an inmate and their rights under the U.S. Constitution.”