CullmanTimes.com - Cullman, Alabama

March 26, 2013

Lawyer: Eric Rudolph on hunger strike in prison

By JAY REEVES
Associated Press

BIRMINGHAM, Ala — A lawyer for Eric Rudolph said Tuesday the imprisoned Olympics bomber claims to be on a hunger strike to protest his treatment behind bars.

Bill Bowen, who represented Rudolph after the man was charged in a deadly abortion clinic bombing in Birmingham, said he received a letter from Rudolph last week saying he had stopped eating and was refusing medical treatment at the federal prison in Florence, Colo.

Rudolph, whose brother recently published a book based on the inmate’s writings, said he has been transferred into a loud section of the prison that houses mentally unbalanced prisoners, Bowen said.

“He thinks it is punishment for his writings,” said Bowen.

Rudolph’s letter was postmarked March 15 and arrived last week, Bowen said. The attorney said he has had no further communication with Rudolph to find out whether he was still refusing food.

Chris Burke, a spokesman with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, declined to comment on Rudolph’s condition or treatment inside the so-called “supermax” prison in Colorado. But Burke said prison rules do not prohibit inmates from sending letters that are published by people outside.

Relatives and supporters sometimes take Rudolph’s messages and spread them. His brother recently published a 394-page book based on Rudolph’s writings.

Rudolph, 46, announced the hunger strike on a website that often posts his messages, blaming his messages for his transfer into an undesirable area.

“Despite having a clean record, I have been moved to what they call the ‘bug range,’ which houses chronic trouble makers, most of whom are mentally ill. (They) bang and yell all day, tearing themselves apart; producing an atmosphere of chaos and noise,” said the note.

Rudolph pleaded guilty to bombing the 1996 Olympics park in Atlanta and a Birmingham abortion clinic. He spent more than five years on the run before being captured in 2003 near his home in Murphy, N.C.

The Colorado prison where Rudolph is held houses the system’s most dangerous prisoners. They include convicted terrorists; Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski; and Terry Nichols, convicted as an accomplice to Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.

A federal prosecutor said Rudolph won’t be allowed to keep any profits from the book, which was taken off a sales website shortly after it appeared.