"Shoe-bomber" Reid on hunger strike in U.S. prison

DENVER Tue Jun 9, 2009 11:32pm EDT

Convicted ''shoe-bomber'' Richard Reid is shown in this December, 2001 police photograph. REUTERS/Plymouth County Jail/Handout

Convicted ''shoe-bomber'' Richard Reid is shown in this December, 2001 police photograph.

Credit: Reuters/Plymouth County Jail/Handout

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DENVER (Reuters) - Convicted "shoe-bomber" Richard Reid, who was found guilty in 2003 of trying to blow up a transatlantic jetliner, has been refusing food for several weeks and is being force fed, court documents showed on Tuesday.

Traci Billingsley, spokeswoman at federal prison headquarters in Washington, D.C., said the bureau does not comment on inmates' conditions and would not say whether Reid's hunger strike is related to a lawsuit he has filed against prison officials.

Reid's lawsuit alleges prison authorities have repeatedly prevented him from following the tenets of his Sunni Muslim faith. A U.S. District Court judge in Denver recently denied the authorities' request to throw out Reid's lawsuit.

Reid, 35, has refused food since March at the Supermax prison, the United States' highest-security federal lockup, 90 miles south of Denver, a federal government lawyer said in the court filings.

The government attorney, in a previously undisclosed court filing dated April 14, wrote that prison officials determined on April 7 "that medical intervention was necessary" and Reid was being force fed and hydrated.

He had refused 58 meals by April 9, the attorney said in the documents.

In an update court filing last Friday, the government attorney wrote that Reid remains on the hunger strike and that prison officials continue to monitor his condition.

Reid was sentenced in 2003 in federal court in Boston for trying to ignite two bombs in his shoes on a Paris-to-Miami flight on American Airlines. He was subdued by passengers before he could detonate the explosives.

The Supermax facility houses the most notorious federal inmates including Ramzi Yousef, convicted of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski.

(Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Bill Trott.)

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