Prosecution to AP: Yemenis being held in Dutch terror probe likely to be releasedBy AP
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Dutch: Yemeni airline suspects likely to be freed
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — A prosecution spokesman says two Yemeni men arrested amid fears they were conducting a dry run for an airline terror attack almost certainly will be released soon.
National prosecutor’s office spokesman Ernst Koelman told The Associated Press it is “99 percent certain” that Ahmed Mohamed Nasser al Soofi and Hezam al Murisi will be freed without charge.
The men were arrested Monday in Amsterdam at the request of U.S. officials after arriving on a United Airlines flight from Chicago.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — One of two Yemeni men being held by Dutch authorities amid fears they were conducting a dry run for an airline terror attack denies any involvement in terrorism, his lawyer said Wednesday.
Attorney Wouter Hendrickx said his client Ahmed Mohamed Nasser al Soofi “is in shock” after being arrested Monday by Dutch airport police as he arrived on a United Airlines flight from Chicago.
Hendrickx said Al Soofi was on his way to Yemen to visit his family when he was detained.
“He says ‘I have no connections to terrorist activities whatsoever,’” Hendrickx told The Associated Press.
Al Soofi was arrested along with another Yemeni, Hezam al Murisi, following a request from U.S. authorities, Dutch prosecutors said.
Both men missed flights to Washington Dulles International Airport from Chicago, and United Airlines then booked them on the same flight to Amsterdam, the U.S. government official said. The men were sitting near each other on the flight, but not together.
Al Soofi also raised suspicions in the United States on Sunday because he was carrying $7,000 in cash. An inspection of his checked luggage uncovered a cell phone taped to a small bottle, multiple cell phones and watches taped together, and a knife and box cutter, according to a U.S. official who had been briefed on the investigation.
None of the checked items violated U.S. security rules, so authorities allowed al Soofi to fly. But his bags later were transferred to another flight and were not on the flight to Amsterdam, Dutch prosecutors said.
Both Al Soofi and Al Murisi changed their travel plans at the last minute and took a direct flight to Amsterdam, raising suspicion among U.S. officials.
However, a U.S. law enforcement official said Tuesday that following FBI inquiries neither man is likely to be charged in America.
Ernst Koelman of the Dutch national prosecutor’s office said Wednesday the investigation of the two men was continuing and they could be held without charge until Thursday.
Hendrickx said he has not yet received a case file from prosecutors so he could not discuss further details of the case.
He said the two men were being held in separate cells at a jail in the central Dutch town of Houten.
Tags: Amsterdam, Chicago, Europe, Hague, Illinois, Middle East, Netherlands, North America, Suspicious-luggage, Terrorism, United States, Western Europe, Yemen