Prosecutors: American Airlines mechanic who sabotaged plane may sympathize with terrorists

Prosecutors: American Airlines mechanic who sabotaged plane may sympathize with terrorists

American Airlines aircraft are shown parked at their gates at Miami International Airport in Miami. A bail hearing is scheduled for a mechanic charged with sabotaging an American Airlines jetliner as part of a labor dispute.

MIAMI — A federal judge has denied bail to a former American Airlines mechanic accused of sabotaging a plane, saying he may have sympathy for terrorists.

The mechanic, Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani, 60, is accused of tampering with the air data module system of a Boeing 737-800 July 17 at Miami International Airport that was scheduled to fly 150 people to the Bahamas, The New York Times reported. Alani allegedly admitted to the act, and told authorities he was upset over a union dispute and wanted the flight to be delayed or canceled so he could get overtime work.

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Alani was arrested Sept. 5 and charged with one count of willfully damaging, destroying and disabling an aircraft, ABC News reported. He hasn't been charged with any terror-related crimes.

During a bond hearing Wednesday, U.S. Attorney Maria Medetis said Alani downloaded an ISIS video to his phone that he sent to an unnamed person, CNN reported. She said Alani wrote, "Allah we ask you to use all your might and power against non-Muslims."

Prosecutors said Alani traveled to Iraq this year, sent a $700 payment to someone in Iraq in July and may have a brother who is a member of ISIS.

Alani's attorney, Christian Dunham, argued in court that prosecutors would not be able to prove that Alani meant to put people on the plane in danger. He added that if Alani actually had ties to ISIS, he should have been on a no-fly or watch list.

Judge Chris McAliley denied Alani bond and cited several factors, including that he "may be very sympathetic to terrorists."

"For you to take this step is shocking and unconscionable," she said. "This was not a momentary, compulsive act. You had time to think about it. This was a crazy idea that you deliberated and went through with it. That's of great concern. If you're capable of that, I have to ask if you'd follow bond orders."

American Airlines fired Alani Sept. 7.