The trial of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian charged with attempting to detonate a bomb hidden in his underwear aboard an international flight bound for Detroit on Christmas Day 2009, began on Tuesday morning. What was expected to be a routine jury selection hearing quickly became headline news when Abdulmutallab made a statement about his religious advisor and terror mentor, Anwar al Awlaki, who was killed in a US strike in Yemen last week.
As the jury selection was getting under way, Abdulmutallab blurted out “Anwar is alive,” referring to the slain cleric who had said he was proud to have trained the would-be martyr. Abdulmutallab’s outburst does not come to a surprise to those who have followed his arrest and initial hearings. Just last month, during another court hearing, he stated “Osama is alive.”
During today’s selection process, Abdulmutallab further denounced the United States, calling it a “cancer” and saying,”The mujahideen will wipe out the US.”
Facing eight felonies, including attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, Abdulmutallab is representing himself in court. The trial is expected to continue on Oct. 11, when opening statements will be made. During the trial, the prosecution is expected to show the jury a model of the bomb Abdulmutallab attempted to detonate, as well as play martyrdom videos starring the suspect. The judge ruled out the prosecution’s request to play a video of Osama bin Laden praising Abdulmutallab, deeming it unnecessary.
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