DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A Saudi man arrested at Detroit Metro Airport after federal agents say he lied about why he was traveling with a pressure cooker, waived his right to a detention hearing in federal court.
The 33-year-old Hussain Al Khawahir, who arrived in Romulus via Amsterdam, was taken into custody last Saturday on allegations that he’d changed his story and used a passport with a missing page.
His nephew, Nasser Almarzooq, who is a student in University of Toledo, told The Associated Press the case is a misunderstanding about a device he wanted for cooking. Almarzooq said his uncle was coming to visit him.
Speaking to reporters at the courthouse on Tuesday, defense attorney James Howarth said his client is innocent.
“He knows nothing of pressure cooker bombs and if this were not in the aftermath of the tragedy in Boston, as I said, we would not be standing here. I’d be back at the office,” Howarth said.
Two pressure cookers were used in last month’s Boston Marathon bombings.
“He didn’t try to hide it. He didn’t lie about it — contrary to what the government saying — he did not lie about it,” Howarth added. “He at one point said his nephew didn’t have a pressure cooker, and apparently, at another point, said he has one but it’s broken.”
Making false claims to federal officials is a 5-year felony.
Federal officials continue to investigate if Al Khawahir, a married father of 5, has ties to terrorism.
Howarth predicts Al Khawahir will be exonerated.
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