Ramzi Yousef, the man responsible for the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, has been in solitary confinement for 11 years. He has now asked to be put back in general population, stating that he is “lonely” in the isolated cell.
Yousef’s lawyer, Bernard Kleinman, has asked the Court of Appeals in Manhattan to review his client’s case and make the decision to place him back in general population. There are no more connections between Yousef and the terrorist organization he once belonged to, Kleinman has argued.
“I think it’s just plain unfair,” he told reporters. “Most of the terrorists he knew are either dead or in jail. Solitary confinement is a really tough thing to take.”
Yousef was convicted of terrorism after detonating a bomb inside the World Trade Center, injuring 1,042 people and killing six. He was also found guilty of conspiring to blow up 12 United States planes in midair, but that plan never came to fruition. In 1998, a court sentenced him to two life terms.
“Yes, I am a terrorist, and proud of it as long as it is against the U.S. government and against Israel,” Yousef said in court. “Because you are more than terrorists. You are the one[s] who invented terrorism and using it every day.”
As part of his sentencing, Yousef has been kept under special administrative measures, known as SAMs. He is not allowed to have any physical contact with another person and is kept behind bars, except for one hour, when he is allowed recreation time.
“Human interaction is a big issue,” Kleinman explained to the press. He has not requested complete freedom, except for being placed in general population, which will give him the social interaction with fellow inmates.
“They don’t say he tried to make a bomb there or tried to have secret communications with another inmate,” Kleinman told the court. He has requested answers as to why his client is being kept under SAMs, when there have been no further incidents involving Yousef.
In addition to the two life sentences, Yousef must also serve an additional 240 years at a prison in Colorado.