Mon, 21 Oct 2019

No Bail for US Airline Mechanic Accused of Sabotaging a Plane

Voice of America
19 Sep 2019, 16:05 GMT+10

A federal judge in Miami has denied bail for a former American Airlines mechanic accused of sabotaging a jetliner with 150 aboard.

Judge Chris McAliley ordered Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani to remain behind bars because of what the judge says is new evidence of possible Islamic extremist sympathies.

Prosecutors say Alani's brother in Iraq may have ties to Islamic State and Alani himself allegedly made statements about Allah using "divine powers" to harm non-Muslins.

But for now, the only charge against Alani is "willfully damaging, destroying, or disabling" a commercial aircraft.

Prosecutors say Alani glued a piece of Styrofoam inside the nose of the aircraft in mid-July to disable a component allowing the pilots to gauge its speed and other information.

The aircraft flashed an error message just before takeoff from Miami to Nassau, Bahamas, and the pilots returned to the gate.

Alani told police he was angered over stalled labor talks between American Airlines management and mechanics and hoped that stopping the plane would lead to extra work and overtime pay.

Alani's attorney says that even if the plane had taken off, it would have been safe to fly.

Judge McAliley disagreed, telling Alani "What you did with this aircraft was highly reckless and unconscionable, certainly there was a risk of a catastrophic disaster. I think it is likely you will be convicted."

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