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24 July 2024

Underwear bomber trial set for October 4 in US


A US federal judge on Tuesday scheduled the trial of a young Nigerian man accused of trying to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner with explosives stitched into his underwear to begin on October 4.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 24, faces life in prison if convicted on eight federal terrorism-related charges ranging from attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction to conspiring to engage in an act of terrorism.

The judge also extended the cut-off date for pre-trial motions from February 26 to June 24, and worked out an arrangement for Abdulmutallab to review discovery materials privately at the federal prison in Milan, Michigan, about 75 kilometres southwest of Detroit, where he is held pending trial.

The son of a prominent Nigerian banker, Abdulmutallab was arrested after the botched Christmas Day 2009 plot attributed to Al Qaeda, in which explosives allegedly stitched into his underwear failed to detonate aboard the Northwest flight from Amsterdam.

Passengers and crew were able to restrain Abdulmutallab and put out the small fire aboard the flight, which was carrying 279 passengers and 11 crew members.

The foiled bombing triggered global alarm, leading the United States to adopt stringent new screening and security measures at airports around the world.