July 30, 2014 at 6:53 am

Michigan inmate who sued over calls won't get $4 verdict

Detroit — An appeals court says Michigan prison officials who blocked an inmate’s international calls and mail are immune to liability in a lawsuit.

A federal jury in western Michigan awarded Bahaa Iswed just $4 in 2012. The award was overturned by Judge Paul Maloney, and his decision was affirmed last week by the appeals court.

Immunity can apply if government officials didn’t violate a clearly established right.

Iswed is serving a life sentence for murder. He says calls to family in Romania and Jordan were blocked for security reasons, and mail sent to him in Arabic was seized, too.

The judge ordered Michigan’s prison system to allow the calls. He also ordered the state to pay $52,000 in legal fees to Iswed’s attorneys.