The Nigerian accused of hiding explosives in his underwear with the intent to blow up an airplane in mid-flight on Christmas Day has pleaded not guilty. “Accused ‘underwear bomber’ Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab entered a Detroit courtroom under high security today and pleaded not guilty to charges that he tried to blow up a jetliner filled with Christmas travelers. The short and slightly built suspect shuffled into the courtroom wearing an untucked white T-shirt and khaki pants and looking somewhat dazed with his eyes downcast. It wasn’t clear whether Abdulmutallab was shuffling sideways because of the fact that his ankles were shackled or because of burn injuries he may have suffered during the botched attempt to ignite a bomb in his underwear. Instead of exploding, the device caught fire. During the brief five minute hearing, the 23-year-old Nigerian sat hunched over and impassive as his lawyers surrounded him and spoke with him. When called before the judge, he spoke so softly that federal Magistrate Judge Mark Randen had to urge him to speak up. Standing slack-jawed, the suspect appeared to rely on his lawyers’ promptings in answering the judge’s questions. He could be heard answering “yes” when asked whether he understood the charges against him.”
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