Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani, the American Airlines mechanic who admitted to sabotaging an AA 737-800 in Miami, may have terrorist ties says prosecutors. The startling allegation prompted a judge to deny bail to the 60-year-old defendant.
When he was arrested, Alanai told prosecutors that he tampered with the 737’s air data module (ADM) system because he was 1.) angry at stalled union negotiations and 2.) wanted to more overtime work. He insisted that no passengers were ever in danger because he knew the flight would never take off and even if it did, there were redundant systems in place to compensate for the disabled system.
But federal prosecutors suggested a new motive during a bail hearing. Among their allegations:
- Alani lied about taking a trip to Iraq to visit his brother earlier this year
- An ISIS video was found on his phone that featured a person being shot in the head
- The video was forwarded to someone with a message in Arabic asking Allah to inflict vengeance against non-Muslims
- Alani has sent money to Iraq
- Alani told investigators that he has an “evil side”
Agreeing with prosecutors, Magistrate Judge Chris McAliley ruled that Alani posed both a flight risk and danger to the community and should therefore remain behind bars. Alani’s public defender said that prosecutors had twisted evidence and exaggerated any Islamic ties.
When I saw the headlines for this story, my first instinct was to roll my eyes and think prosecutors had cooked up a story. That’s how cynical I have become. But if the evidence alleged above is true, I cannot say it was a wrong choice to deny in bail. In fact, whether there are indeed terrorist ties or not, I agree with Judge McAliley that Alani’s behavior was “highly reckless and unconscionable.” Based upon his own confession and therefore a motive to disappear, I would also lean against granting bail.
image: Daniel Pontet
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