Monday, Jun 27, 2016
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Police & Fire

Airport pressure cooker charges dropped

DETROIT (AP) — Charges were dismissed Friday against a Saudi man arrested at Detroit Metropolitan Airport after a pressure cooker was found in his bag, but he still has to leave the United States.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said it has “conducted a thorough investigation” of 33-year-old Hussain Al Khawahir, who was arrested May 11 and charged with giving false statements to federal agents and possessing an altered passport.

“We decided to dismiss the complaint against Hussain Al Khawahir, and he will go immediately into the custody of U.S. Customs and Border protection for removal from the United States,” spokeswoman Gina Balaya said Friday in a statement. “Because Mr. Al Khawahir presented an improper passport and failed to answer questions candidly when he arrived in the United States, he will not be allowed to remain in the country.”

The Saudi man said he was flying into Detroit Metro to visit a relative who is a University of Toledo student.

James Howarth, Al Khawahir’s defense attorney in Detroit, has said his client didn’t know at the time of his arrest that pressure cookers were used to make the bombs in the April 15 Boston Marathon attack and was bringing the pressure cooker for use by his nephew, a student at the University of Toledo in Ohio.

“There’s no evidence of wrongdoing,” Howarth told the Detroit Free Press on Friday. “It’s one occasion where justice delayed was not necessarily justice denied. It came to a happy ending and there’s going to be no hard feelings on anyone’s part.”

Howarth didn’t immediately return calls to The Associated Press for comment Friday evening.

Two pressure cookers filled with explosives and shrapnel exploded near the Boston Marathon’s finish line, killing three people and injuring more than 260 others.

One of the bombing suspects, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, died following a shootout with police days after the bombing. His brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was captured on April 19.

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