17:10 GMT14 August 2020
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    Former American Airlines employee Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani, who admitted to sabotaging a 150-passenger plane over wage disputes, was denied bail by a federal judge due to suspicion that he may be “sympathetic to terrorists.”

    During a Wednesday bond hearing in Miami, Florida, federal prosecutors told United States Magistrate Judge Chris M. McAliley that investigators with the Federal Bureau of Investigation Joint Terrorism Task Force found a graphic Daesh video and an article about the Lion Air Flight 610’s malfunction pulled up on Alani’s confiscated cellphone.

    Prosecutors say the video found on the defendant’s device depicted mass murders committed by Daesh members. It’s alleged that 60-year-old Alani sent the footage to multiple people, and that he made statements calling on Allah to use his “divine powers” against non-Muslims, according to the Associated Press.

    Investigators also reportedly found evidence that Alani’s brother, who resides in his home country of Iraq, may have ties to a Daesh extremist group. Prosecutors accompanied this assertion with details related to Alani’s recent $700 wire transfer to an unknown individual in Iraq.

    “You may be very sympathetic to terrorists,” McAliley told Alani at the hearing. “That’s very disconcerting.”

    Alani’s public defender, however, insists that federal prosecutors are using his client’s background and assistance to family members back home against him.

    “What you did with this aircraft was highly reckless and unconscionable,” the judge said, denying Alani’s release on bail. “Certainly there was a risk of a catastrophic disaster. I think it is likely you will be convicted.”

    Earlier this month, the former American Airlines mechanic confessed to charges related to his willful “damaging, destroying or disabling” of a flight scheduled to carry 150 passengers from Miami International Airport to Nassau, Bahamas, on July 17.

    Senior Transportation Security Administration Air Marshal Jose Ruiz then alleged that Alani was responsible for implanting a “dark Styrofoam-type material" into the aircraft’s air data module system. The problem was not detected until the final moments before takeoff.

    Alani will be able to enter a plea at a Friday hearing.


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