Medical student files lawsuit against federal detention center in SA

Lawsuit against Geo Group alleges discrimination, abuse, lack of medical care

SAN ANTONIO – A medical student of Iranian descent was beaten and denied medical treatment while he was incarcerated in a federal detention center in San Antonio, a lawsuit claims.

Sina Moghtader filed a lawsuit against The Geo Group Inc., a private prison company contracted by the federal government. The lawsuit claims allegations of discrimination, abuse and lack of medical care.

Moghtader was arrested in June 2016 on suspicion of threatening a government employee, according to the lawsuit.

But Moghtader's attorney, Randall Kallinen, told KSAT 12 News that a judge and prosecutors in the case agreed that Moghtader's psychotic behavior was a reaction due to a medication he was prescribed, which led to the charges being dropped and Moghtader's release from the facility.

Kallinen said that the alleged beating and denial of medical care caused the fourth-year medical student to become permanently deaf in one ear.  Moghtader also suffered broken teeth, nerve damage, severe weight loss and a broken nose, Kallinen said.

"It was terrible," Moghtader said. "It was like a nightmare, and I don't wish it on anyone."

The lawsuit also names three doctors, two detention officers and a grievance inspector, stating that Geo guards encouraged other inmates to beat Moghtader, accusing him of being a terrorist because of his Iranian descent.

"When you are in prison, you are in the care and control of the people in the prison, and although it's not a vacation, you cannot be subjected to excessive force," Kallinen said. "You cannot be denied serious medical care for your medical needs."

KSAT 12 News reached out to The Geo Group Inc. several times for comment, and as of 6 p.m. Tuesday, hadn't received a response regarding the lawsuit.

About the Author: