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Al Qaeda suspect arraigned as US beefs up security

Last updated on: December 27, 2009 14:25 IST

The 23-year-old Nigerian al Qaeda suspect, who tried to blow up a US plane, was arraigned on Sunday and faces a prison term of up to 20 years if convicted, even as aviation authorities beefed up security measures and flight rules for America-bound flights globally.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, charged with trying to blow up a US plane mid air and placing explosive device on the plane, was produced before a judge for his arraignment hearing in a Detroit hospital, where he is being treated for burns.

Son of a prominent Nigerian banker, Abdulmutallab was brought before a judge on a wheel chair into a conference room of the hospital, wearing a green gown and blue hospital socks with one hand-cuffed to his chair.

The charges were filed in the United States district court for the Eastern District of Michigan in Detroit.

"Each count carries a prison term of 20 years in federal prison," reported Action News of Detroit.

"During the arraignment Adbulmutallab did not say much, however, he did speak very good English. He answered the questions that Judge Paul Borman asked, telling him that he understood the charges he was facing," the paper said.

The US aviation authorities meanwhile, announced a new set of rules for all international flights heading to the country, including increased restrictions on using carry-on
baggage during flight.

All major airports in the US were also put on extra security vigil.

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