Abdulmutallab makes court appearance

January 8, 2010 12:00 am

, DETROIT, Jan 8 – The Nigerian terror suspect accused of trying to blow up a Detroit-bound flight on Christmas Day will make his first court appearance here Friday.

The arraignment comes a day after US president Barack Obama vowed sweeping and costly new measures to fix the intelligence flaws exposed by the Al-Qaeda attack.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, was indicted Wednesday by a grand jury on six counts arising from the botched plot to blow up an airliner packed with 290 passengers and crew flying from Amsterdam to Detroit.

The charges included attempted murder and trying to use a weapon of mass destruction aboard a US plane.

Obama blamed US spy agencies for failing to properly connect and analyze signs that an Al-Qaeda affiliate in Yemen was planning the attack.

He said US spies failed to "aggressively" combat Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) that planned the attack, then failed to properly analyze intelligence. He also cited mistakes in the US terror watch list system.

Abdulmutallab was badly burned when the explosive he hid in his underwear caught fire but failed to blow up as Northwest Airlines Flight 253 began its descent into Detroit.

Fellow passengers subdued him and the crew was able to put the fire out before much damage had been done.

He spent several days in hospital before being transferred to a federal detention facility in Milan, Michigan.

Abdulmutallab is set to be arraigned at 2:00 pm (1900 GMT) at a federal courthouse in downtown Detroit.

A group of Muslim faith leaders is planning to rally outside the courthouse with signs declaring "not in our name."

"The collective goal of all of us, as our president has spoken about, is to defeat the extremists and Al-Qaeda," said organizer Victor Ghalib Begg, chair of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan.

"Their actions really harm all of us," Begg told AFP, referring to Islamic extremists.

"It gives a bad name to Muslims and it\\\\\\\’s important for religious leaders to speak out. The things these people do — that\\\\\\\’s a ticket to hell, not to paradise."

Michigan district court documents accused Abdulmutallab of "carrying a concealed bomb" of high explosives inside his clothing onto Flight 253.

If convicted of trying to use a weapon of mass destruction, he faces life imprisonment, the Department of Justice said. Attempted murder charges carry a maximum sentence of 20 years, while two charges of possession and use of a firearm or destructive device carry a mandatory 30 years prison term.


Latest Articles

Most Viewed