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6:57:33 PM
Feds drop charges against Saudi man arrested with pressure cooker at Detroit Metro Airport
June 26, 2013
For four weeks, Hussain Al-Kwawahir, was jailed in the custody of the U.S. government.
Then, without explanation or notice to his attorney, Al-Kwawahir was released and put on a flight out of Detroit Metro Airport earlier this month to Saudia Arabia via Paris.
His attorney, James C. Howarth, who was hired by a New York firm, he suspects under the guide of the Saudi Arabian Consulate, said he didn't know the "highly unsubstantiated" charges against his client were dropped until after Al-Kwawahir was airborne.
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents arrested Al-Kwawahir, a married father of three, after questioning him about an item in his luggage, a pressure cooker, the same device used by brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev to improvise explosives used in the Boston Marathon bombings.
Al-Kwawahir was charged with altering his passport and lying to agents.
Al-Kwawahir doesn't speak English and had to communicate through a translator, who Howarth believes may have conveyed Al-Kwawahir's words incorrectly.
He told agents he brought the pressure cooker to the U.S. to deliver to his nephew, Nasser Almarzooq, a University of Toledo student. Initially, according to agents, he said Almarzooq needed the cooking device because his had broken. He then said he'd brought it because his nephew could not find a quality cooker in the U.S.
Regarding the altered passport, Howarth said there was no basis for the charge. Al-Kwawahir had a valid passport, which he presented, and a travel Visa, but agents searched him and discovered another expired passport missing a page near the back.
"The passport was not altered or changed in any way," said Howarth.
Feds arrested Al-Kwawahir May 11 and released him June 7, after his Visa expired, and deported him.
Howarth never got a chance to bid his client farewell but said he received an email from Al-Kwawahir's uncle saying he was "home and safe."
By Gus Burns
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