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Nigerian charged for attempted bombing of US flight

January 07, 2010 09:09 IST

Nigerian national Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was on Thursday charged in a six-count criminal indictment for his alleged attempt to blow up a North West Airlines plane with 300 people on board on Christmas Day.

"The charges that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab faces could imprison him for life," Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement after filing the case in a Michigan court.

"This investigation is fast-paced, global and ongoing, and has already yielded valuable intelligence that we will follow wherever it leads. Anyone we find responsible for this alleged attack will be brought to justice using every tool -- military or judicial -- available to our government," he said.

US Attroney for the Eastern district of Michigan said that the attempted murder of 300 innocent people merits the most serious charges available. According to the indictment, Abdulmutallab allegedly boarded Northwest Airlines flight 253, with 289 passengers and 11 crew members, at Amsterdam on December 25, carrying a concealed bomb.

The bomb components included explosives like Pentaerythritol and Triacetone Triperoxide, and other ingredients. The bomb was concealed in his clothing and designed to allow him to detonate it at a time of his choice, thereby causing an explosion on the plane, the indictment said.

Abdulmutallab detonated the bomb, shortly before landing at Detroit Metropolitan Airport, causing a fire in the plane According to an affidavit, filed in support of a criminal complaint, he was subdued and restrained by crew members and passengers after detonating the bomb. The plane landed shortly thereafter, and Abdulmutallab was taken into custody by US Customs and Border Protection officers.

Abdulmutallab was taken to the University of Michigan Medical Center after the plane landed, as he required medical treatment. Count one of the indictment charges Abdulmutallab with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, which carries a penalty of up to life in prison.

On the second count, he has been charged with attempted murder within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States, which carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.

Third count charges him with willful attempt to destroy or wreck an aircraft within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the US, which carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison Abdulmutallab has been charged with willfully placing a destructive device on a plane within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the US, which was likely to endanger the safety of such aircraft, on the fourth count.

This carries prison term of 20 years. On the fifth count, he has been charged with the use of a firearm/destructive device during and in relation to a crime of violence. And on the sixth count, he has been charged with the possession of a firearm/destructive device in furtherance of a crime of violence. Both the charges carry a consecutive mandatory term of 30 years in prison.

Lalit K Jha In Washington
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