US & Canada

Airline bomb suspect asks to represent himself in court

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab
Mr Abdulmutallab indicated he intended to plead guilty to some charges

A Nigerian accused of trying to blow up a US-bound airliner with a bomb sewn into his underwear says he wants to represent himself in court.

Appearing in a Detroit court for the first time since January, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab rejected a judge's advice that he retain a lawyer.

Mr Abdulmutallab indicated he intended to plead guilty to some of the charges.

He was charged with the attempted murder of 290 jet passengers on 25 December 2009.

Mr Abdulmutallab is also charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction.

The jet landed safely in Detroit after crew and passengers overpowered him.

In federal court in Detroit on Monday, Mr Abdulmutallab asked US District Judge Nancy Edmunds how he could go about pleading guilty to some of the counts.

She replied that she could not advise him on the matter, and assigned a lawyer to be available to assist him in representing himself.

Mr Abdulmutallab is reported to have co-operated with investigators who have questioned him about alleged ties to violent Islamic extremists.

Soon after his arrest, Mr Abdulmutallab said he had been trained by al-Qaeda-linked militants in Yemen.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which is based in Yemen, claimed responsibility for the failed bomb attack.

Mr Abdulmutallab caught the flight to Detroit from the Netherlands, after connecting from a flight from Nigeria.

His father, a prominent Nigerian banker, had previously warned US authorities about his son's extremist views.

Mr Abdulmutallab was on a US watch list before the alleged Christmas Day attempt but not a no-fly list.

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