An Anaheim man accused of helping the Islamic State militant group ate a peanut butter sandwich shortly after a federal judge in Santa Ana urged him to have dinner or he would be ordered to be force- fed, his attorney said.
Muhanad Elfatih M.A. Badawi also ate two ounces of tuna, honey and drank some apple juice, a meal he typically enjoys at home, according to attorney Kate Corrigan.
Badawi was ordered brought back to court at noon Monday to ensure he continues eating, and if he doesn’t he will be force fed. Badawi has sustained significant weight loss while in custody.
U.S. District Judge David O. Carter said he was contacted Nov. 20 with news that the 24-year-old Badawi was refusing to eat or be treated by female medical personnel while in custody in the Santa Ana jail.
Carter, working with detention and medical officials and Corrigan worked to have Badawi transferred to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles where he indicated he would eat.
Badawi’s weight dropped from about 140 pounds to about 110 in recent days. The gaunt man appeared lethargic at times during the hearing and Carter had to sharply command his attention occasionally.
At one point during his detention in Los Angeles Badawi allowed officials to intravenously feed him, but then quickly pulled the needle out, and another time he allowed more fluids.
A nurse at the Santa Ana jail told Carter that Badawi was reluctant to receive any treatment from her, but was more cooperative with a male nurse.
A psychologist who has been treating him said her staff is almost entirely female and when he first arrived in Santa Ana’s jail he was “somewhat resistant.”
Badawi told the psychologists and social workers he would only speak with females when necessary, the psychologist Lisa Hope said. The psychologist added that he cited his “religious beliefs” for his reluctance to deal with women counselors.
Badawi, who insisted in today’s hearing he was not on a hunger strike, also indicated he wanted to fast on Mondays and Thursday for religious reasons.
Carter, who has spent a good deal of time in Middle Eastern countries such as Afghanistan where he trains officials on legal issues, scoffed at the suggestion that Badawi had a legitimate reason to fast on those days.
“You’ve got the wrong days and the wrong time,” Carter told the defendant. “This is not Friday and this is not Ramadan,” the Muslim holy month, marked by daily fasting from dawn to sunset.
Badawi interjected, “The Prophet Muhammad would fast on Mondays and Thursdays.”
Carter noted that Friday was a typical “Sabbath” day for Muslims and that fasting was not required.
“Mr. Badawi, this is going to end today,” Carter said before arranging for marshals to fetch food for Badawi so he could eat it this evening. Carter even pulled money out of his own pocket to pay for it, but the marshals said they would foot the bill.
Carter told Badawi he once had to issue an order to force feed a reluctant prisoner when he was the presiding judge in Orange County Superior Court and he would do so again if the defendant kept fasting.
Carter also told Badawi that he had to let female medical and psychological staff treat him.
“I hope you don’t put this court in a position between choosing between a religious value and a value of equality of sexes because firmly I can tell you if I’m put in that position I will take the values of this country in terms of equality and gender and you’ll be treated by male or female… Do you understand that?” Carter asked.
Badawi replied, “Yes.”
Corrigan said Thursday she has seen a decline in her client’s mental state since the terrorist attacks in Paris. She noted that he has had no problem dealing with her and her female staff on the legal team.
Badawi was indicted along with Nader Salem Elhuzayel, 25, of Anaheim, on charges of bank fraud and providing material support to IS.
The indictment alleges that during April and May, Elhuzayel operated a scheme to rip off three banks by depositing stolen checks into his personal checking accounts and then withdrawing cash from automated teller machines.
Badawi is accused of buying a plane ticket for Elhuzayel to get to Turkey.
The men, who have been denied bail, were initially charged May 22, a day after FBI agents arrested the two — Elhuzayel at Los Angeles International Airport and Badawi at an apartment in Anaheim.
— City News Service
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