Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Nigeria Can't Join Case Against Abdulmutallab

June 23, 2010

Nigeria can't join terrorist case

Judge denies request for formal presence in court proceedings

The Detroit News

Detroit -- The judge overseeing federal charges against Christmas Day attempted bombing suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab has rejected a request by the Nigerian government to have a formal presence in the case.

Detroit attorney Kayode Oladele said in the motion filed Tuesday that the Nigerian government wants to formally observe all proceedings and receive copies of all court filings "to ensure that the integrity of Nigeria is well protected."

U.S. District Judge Nancy G. Edmunds denied the motion in an order issued after a brief hearing, where she met with government prosecutors and lawyers appointed to represent Abdulmutallab. The judge called the request "moot" because records of the case are open to the public, and Oladele later asked to withdraw the motion.

The request wasn't mentioned during the hearing where Abdulmutallab's court-appointed lawyers told the judge more time was needed to examine voluminous evidence against Abdulmutallab. No trial date was set, but the judge and lawyers agreed to meet Sept. 13 for another conference on the status of the case. A representative of the Nigerian government who attended the hearing Tuesday never spoke in court and declined to talk with a Detroit News reporter.

Abdulmutallab, who is being held in the federal penitentiary in Milan, didn't attend the hearing.

The Nigerian was 23 when he allegedly concealed explosives in his underwear and tried to detonate them as a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam approached Detroit Metropolitan Airport. Passengers and crew put out a fire aboard the flight, which carried 279 passengers and 11 crew members.

Abdulmutallab faces charges that include attempted murder and attempted use of weapons of mass destruction.

Oladele had written in his court filing: "The government of Nigeria has a zero tolerance for terrorism and the government is committed to all the United Nations resolutions in the fight against terrorism. However, this case is a public interest case that involves unusually extensive and complex legal issues and ... it is therefore in the overriding public interest that the government of Nigeria be permitted to enter an appearance to formally observe the proceedings.""> (313) 222-2548

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