(JTA) — A Venezuelan Jewish man being held in an Alabama prison who sued the federal government demanding to be served kosher food has asked a federal judge to grant a transfer to another prison.
Rafael Alberto Lloveras Linares, a federal immigration detainee, has asked to be transferred to a facility in Miami or Newark, N.J. where he can have a kosher meal provided by a “Jewish catering service,” according to Jewish traditions and federal standards, the online edition of the Huntsville Times Al.com, reported.
Linares on May 1 filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in Birmingham saying he was in danger from fellow inmates in the Etowah County Jail, and arguing that he had been moved to an area in the prison with the most dangerous inmates in retaliation for the lawsuit on kosher meals which had been filed in late April.
Four days later he was assaulted by six inmates , according to the emergency request for a transfer filed late last week, Al.com reported.
Linares claims that he is not being served kosher meals as required by federal law. He also has asked to observe the Sabbath, meet monthly with a rabbi and celebrate the major Jewish holidays.
A federal law passed in 2000 calls on state prisons services to accommodate the religious practices of prisoners whenever possible.
Linares has been detained by the immigration agency since July 2010, when he was arrested for overstaying a 1995 tourist visa. He applied for asylum, saying that as a Jew in Venezuela his life is in danger.
A federal judge ordered that Linares be deported, but he has refused to board planes to return him to Venezuela four times. Linares has an arrest record that includes convictions for trespassing, driving with a suspended license and eluding law enforcement, according to the Huntsville Times.