Government attorneys urged a judge on Friday to throw out a lawsuit in which former death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal claims prison officials have shown “deliberate indifference” to his health.

Abu-Jamal’s lawsuit was filed before he exhausted an administrative appeals process as required under federal law, argued Laura Neal, a lawyer for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.

“It’s discouraging inmates from running into court, which Mr. Abu-Jamal did,” she said of the process.

U.S. District Judge Robert Mariani noted that Abu-Jamal filed an amended complaint last month, after the corrections department rejected his medical appeals.

Abu-Jamal, 61, is a former Black Panther and radio journalist serving life in prison for the murder of a white Philadelphia police officer more than 30 years ago. He said in the lawsuit that prison officials and doctors have systematically denied him proper medical care for maladies ranging from hepatitis C to high blood sugar.

He wants Mariani to order his jailers to allow him to be seen by a doctor of his choosing and to provide adequate treatment. He also is demanding monetary damages.