Underwear bomber sues over treatment in federal prison, claims rights are being violated

A Nigerian man who tried to blow up a Detroit-bound plane on Christmas Day eight years ago by carrying a bomb in his underwear has filed a lawsuit alleging his constitutional rights are being violated.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab alleges in a lawsuit filed in Colorado that he's been forced to eat foods forbidden by his religion, endured harassment yelled by white supremacist inmates saying things offensive to Muslims and has been prohibited from communicating with relatives, including nieces and nephew, according to the Detroit Free Press

The lawsuit names U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and Joe Does 1 through 20.

According to the lawsuit obtained by the newspaper, the U.S. government prohibits him from communicating with “more than 7.5 billion people, the vast majority of people on the planet.”

“Prison walls do not form a barrier separating prison inmates from the protections of the United States Constitution,” the lawsuit said.

Abdulmutallab is serving four life prison terms in Florence, Colo., after pleading guilty to eight counts in 2011, including conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism.

The bomb plot failed due to Abdulmutallab wearing the explosive undergarments for more than two weeks ahead of the attempted attack, former Transportation Security Administration chief John Pistole told Fox News Chief Intelligence Correspondent Catherine Herridge at the 2014 Aspen Security Forum. 

"Let's say it was degraded," Pistole said at the time.

In 2009, months before the attack, he traveled to Yemen in a desperate bid to see Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born cleric and one of the best-known Al Qaeda figures, according to the government. He told investigators that the suicide mission was approved by Al Qaeda after a three-day visit with his mentor.

Al-Awlaki and the bomb maker were killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen just days before Abdulmutallab's trial. At the time, then-President Barack Obama publicly blamed al-Awlaki for the terrorism plot.

The case had lasting implications for security screenings at American airports.

Abdulmutallab's ability to defeat security in Amsterdam contributed to the deployment of full-body scanners at U.S. airports.

The Transportation Security Administration was using the scanners in some American cities at the time, but the attack accelerated their placement. There are now hundreds of the devices nationwide.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.