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Nigerian is arraigned in failed attempt to bomb plane; lawyers enter plea of not guilty

DETROIT — The Nigerian man accused of trying to bomb a Northwest flight on Christmas Day was arraigned Friday in a Detroit courtroom during a quiet hearing that lasted barely four minutes yet attracted a throng of reporters, demonstrators and curious observers.

Wearing a white shirt and metal shackles, with his head shaved, the defendant, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, was silent when his lawyers entered a plea of not guilty.

On Wednesday, a federal grand jury indicted him on six charges, including attempted murder on an airplane, attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and related offenses.

At Friday's arraignment, Magistrate Mark Randon asked Abdulmutallab a series of perfunctory questions about his background and whether he understood the charges. He said, softly, "Yes, sir."

Abdulmutallab occasionally conferred with his lawyers, led by Mirian Siefer. He appeared subdued and did not show any visible signs of the third-degree burns he sustained in the incident on the plane.

He is accused of concealing explosives in his underwear and trying to detonate them with a syringe of chemicals as Northwest Flight 253, carrying 289 passengers and crew members from Amsterdam, descended for its landing in Detroit on Dec. 25. He managed to start a small fire but was overpowered by other passengers and flight attendants, and the plane landed safely.

A number of demonstrators stood outside the courthouse, waving American flags and denouncing acts of terror.


French scanners

The French government said Friday that it would begin putting a handful of body scanners into place for testing at Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports to use for American-bound flights. The body scans will not be mandatory, an official said, but passengers who refuse them will be required to undergo pat-down searches.

Nigerian is arraigned in failed attempt to bomb plane; lawyers enter plea of not guilty 01/08/10 [Last modified: Friday, January 8, 2010 10:50pm]
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