U.S. News

Judge rejects easing prison limits on shoe-bomber

"Shoebomber" Richard C. Reid is taken from the Massachusetts State Police barracks at Logan International Airport in this December 22, 2001 file photo. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/Files

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A judge on Tuesday rejected a request by convicted shoe-bomber Richard Reid to relax special restrictions on his incarceration that include limits on his communications to the outside world.

Reid, who pleaded guilty for trying to blow up a jumbo jet in late 2001 with explosives in his shoes, had challenged restrictions placed on him at the Supermax prison in Colorado, which severely limited his communications and activities.

He petitioned a federal court saying the restrictions denied him his rights to practice his Sunni Muslim faith, or to learn Arabic, order books and magazines, watch television news and communicate with anyone beyond his family and lawyers.

In August 2009 he was moved out of the isolation wing at the prison after the special limits were lifted, though he was subjected to new restrictions barring him from writing to anyone beyond his immediate family and lawyer.

Reid, who is serving a life sentence, told the court he was still being prevented from studying his religion and that he worried that the limits could be reimposed at any time.

The Justice Department urged a Colorado court to dismiss Reid’s challenge because the special limits no longer applied and that he must initiate a new petition to challenge the new restrictions, a request that a magistrate judge granted.

“Assuming plaintiff (Reid) exhausts his administrative remedies, he retains the right to challenge the new restrictions,” Magistrate Judge Kathleen Tafoya said in herruling. Reid could appeal the decision.

A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment on the ruling.

Reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky, editing by Anthony Boadle