Global Airport News

Global Airport News

The man accused of trying to blow up a US airliner with a bomb hidden in his underwear last Christmas, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, was arraigned on Thursday on new charges related to the plot.

A federal grand jury on Wednesday indicted Abdulmutallab on two new charges: conspiracy and possession of an explosive device for a terrorism plot. He now faces eight charges and if convicted, potentially a sentence of life in prison.

He declined to enter a plea on the new charges during the 14-minute hearing, and Judge Nancy Edmunds entered a "not guilty" plea for him, according to prosecutors and a court official.

Edmunds said she would set a trial date at a January 12 hearing.

On a flight to Detroit from Amsterdam, Abdulmutallab, originally from Nigeria, allegedly tried to ignite explosives packed in his underwear. The bomb failed to fully detonate and he was subdued by passengers and the crew aboard the Northwest Airlines jumbo jet.

Abdulmutallab, who fired his court-appointed lawyers in September, told US investigators earlier this year that he had received the bomb and training from al Qaeda militants in Yemen, US officials have said.

Edmunds appointed him a standby lawyer to help as needed and Abdulmutallab reaffirmed on Thursday that he wanted to represent himself with the assistance of the standby attorney.

Wednesday's indictment said there was evidence Abdulmutallab had travelled to Yemen in August 2009 to become involved in a "violent 'jihad' on behalf of al Qaeda."

After the attempted attack, the Obama administration scrambled to strengthen US airline security by deploying full-body scanners to try to detect explosives that could be hidden in a passenger's clothing.