U.S. Zapping Al-Qaeda?

Bin Laden disciple claims irradiated food on 'supermax' prison menu

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U.S. Zapping Al-Qaeda?

AUGUST 4--An Osama bin Laden disciple serving life in the United States's only 'supermax' federal prison believes that jailers are putting his health in jeopardy by X-raying all his food trays and commissary items in search of contraband items.

Convicted terrorist Mohamed Al-Owhali alleges that the Bureau of Prisons security measure unreasonably increases his 'daily exposure to potentially carcinogenic radiation,' which the al-Qaeda operative claims violates Eighth Amendment prohibitions against cruel and unusual punishment. The 31-year-old Al-Owhali, who is being held at the 'supermax' lockup in Florence, Colorado, was convicted of conspiring to bomb a U.S. embassy in Africa, an attack which resulted in more than 200 deaths.

As TSG reported last year, Al-Owhali is not pleased with the severe restrictions at Florence, where he is housed in the Special Security Unit, home to a virtual Terrorists Row of inmates. He filed a pro se lawsuit alleging a laundry list of rights violations, including the denial of his beloved Walkman and certain English and Arabic publications. Al-Owhali began complaining about the 'health consequences' of his irradiated grub earlier this year, and filed a handwritten administrative appeal with BoP officials. His request that the X-raying be stopped was rejected by prison brass.

So Al-Owhali, now aided by a California lawyer, has recently added the X-ray claim to his original civil rights complaint, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Denver. The court filing claims that Al-Owhali faces a 'significant risk' of developing 'serious and irreversible health problems' by consuming a diet 'based entirely on irradiated foods.'

Government lawyers last week filed a motion to dismiss Al-Owhali's lawsuit, asserting that the X-rayed food posed no health threat and that the stringent Florence security measures were warranted in light of his terrorist history. (4 pages)