Muslim Serving Life Sentence for 9/11 Bombing Sues U.S. Prison System

Ajaj is serving a sentence of 114 years for the crime.

The United States' federal prison system and the U.S. Government are being sued by Ahmad Ajaj, a participant in the horrific World Trade Center bombing in New York in 1993. His case? The United States has violated his religious freedom rights. Ajaj, in his civil lawsuit filed in 2013, filed cases with names of his three former wardens figuring in the defendant list. All three wardens were employees of the Florence, Colorado located U.S. Penitentiary Maximum Security Prison. The prison is an infamous one, bearing the moniker of "Alcatraz of the Rockies." Other individuals faring in his list include several health employees and two chaplains. The suit also claims Ajaj was mocked openly by prison staff for his personal beliefs. He was even shown cartoons mocking the prophet Mohammed.

Ajaj's actions then shook the whole United States, if not the whole world. The Twin Towers blast led to the death of six individuals. More than 1,000 people were injured after the detonation of the 1,200-pound bomb placed inside a parking garage under the WTC. The blast was so powerful it made a 200 by 100 foot hole in the ground. The blast echoed deep into the base of the building.

The U.S. Court system in 1999 had sentenced Ajaj to spend 114 years in prison. This was the consequence of his role in the bombing of the World Trade Center. He presently serves his sentence within the confines of an Indiana prison. At the time of filing his case in 2015, he was locked up in supermax Colorado incarceration center.

The lawsuit filed by Ajaj, which found its way in a Denver federal courtroom in the last few days of August, accused the prison officials of restricting regular interactions when it came to him meeting the Imam, a Muslim religious leader. He also alleged that the meals provided did not adhere to Muslim religious restrictions. Students of law from the University of Denver took up his case and said that the federal prison system and the United States Government violated several of his rights as guaranteed by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. This law, enacted in 1993, stops Washington from interfering with any person's religious belief. It makes sure that such beliefs continue to be protected.


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