'Not guilty' plea from Abdulmutallab on Detroit jet bombing charges

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's mug shot
Image: United States Marshals Service.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab pleaded 'not guilty' to charges of attempting to blow up Northwest Airlines Flight 253 before a court in the United States today. The charges stem from an attempt to bomb a passenger jet as it neared the city of Detroit.

The charges include 289 counts of attempted murder, attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, willful attempt to destroy and wreck an aircraft within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States, willfully placing a destructive device in, upon and in proximity to an aircraft within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States, and two counts of possession of a firearm/destructive in furtherance of a crime of violence. If convicted Abdulmutallab faces life in prison.

US Attorney Barbara L. McQuade, said that "The attempted murder of 289 innocent people merits the most serious charges available, and that's what we have charged in this indictment,".

Northwest Flight 253 departed Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, the Netherlands on December 25 bound for Metro Airport in Detroit, Michigan. During the flight, Abdulmutallab allegedly attempted to use plastic explosives which consisted of of Pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN) and Triacetone triperoxide (TATP) along with other ingredients concealed in his undergarments to bring down the aircraft. The device apparently failed, resulting only in flames coming from his seat and loud popping sounds.

Passenger Jasper Schuringa, along with others, restrained Abdulmutallab for the rest of the flight after which he was taken into custody by federal agents. The incident caused rapid changes in airport security around the world, and also in US intelligence services.