Pork meal leads to a lawsuit

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A man, who alleges that the Department of Corrections served him pork even though he told them it is against his religion, has brought his complaint to the U.S. District Court for the NMI.

Mohammad Rafiqul Islam, who is a Muslim, claims that he earlier told Saipan prison personnel that eating pork is against his religion, yet it still served him that food. Because of the incident, Islam said that he has disgraced his religion and the Islamic community.

In Islam’s complaint filed with the District Court for the NMI, he named NMI Department of Corrections officials Georgia Cabrera and Maria Aldan and Don Hall and Alfred Celis of the U.S. Marshals Service-Saipan as defendants.

Islam is suing the defendants for alleged violation of his constitutional right to practice his religious beliefs. Also, he accuses them of providing inadequate medical care.

Islam is seeking an award for an unspecified amount of punitive damages.

Aside from serving him pork, Islam said in his suit that he also has poor eyesight and his request to see an eye doctor was ignored for a time.

When he was finally allowed to see a doctor at Marianas Eye Institute, Islam said the U.S. Marshals shipped him to Guam with two other federal inmates, even before he got his prescription glasses.

Islam said he does not understand why the U.S. Marshals transferred them to Guam in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic where they are “very vulnerable” to catch the coronavirus because “arrestees” from the streets of Guam were mixed with other inmates.

Islam has also requested U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona to issue an order to return him back to Saipan where he is “safe.”

Islam was sentenced to serve 18 months in prison back in 2018 for his involvement in an illegal labor scheme. Islam was found guilty of two counts of mail fraud, three counts of fraud in foreign labor contracting, and one count of fraud and misuse of visas. Islam began serving his sentence at the CNMI Corrections in January 2020.

Kimberly Bautista | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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