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US toughens stance on AbdulMutallab Featured

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Over one year after his alleged attempt to bomb a Detroit-bound aircraft, Nigerian-born terror suspect, Farour AbdulMutallab, may be coming under intense pressure from United States Congressmen and lawyers over his reported refusal to cooperate with investigators.

Empowered Newswire reports that new Republican-controlled US Congress is planning to use his case to shake up the American intelligence community. The new Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Mike Rogers, was quoted by local US media as saying on Monday that the American “bureaucracy of the intelligence business needs to be rattled a little bit.”

Rogers, who is a Republican from Michigan where the 2009 Christmas Day attempt took place, decried the US government’s refusal to treat the suspect as an enemy combatant. He said this caused the loss of a week of questioning of the suspect and weakened the chance to get him to cooperate.

He said suspected terrorists in the US should not be processed through the American legal system but should be treated in the same way as German saboteurs inside the country during World War II.

The congressman’s comments coincided with the charge by US prosecutors that AbdulMutallab’s court-appointed lawyer, Anthony Chambers, was asking for too much in the preparation of his defence.

In the latest documents filed in the US District Court, the US federal prosecutors are questioning Chambers’ recent request that the federal defender’s office, which was handling AbdulMutallab’s defence before he came on board, should turn over its complete file on Abdulmutallab to him. The prosecutors said the file contained crucial expert witness testimony and was ‘essential and critical to the defence.’

The US prosecutors regard Chambers as a standby counsel since AbdulMutallab has repeatedly told the court that he will represent himself. Their argument is that AbdulMutallab is acting as his own lawyer and should, therefore, be the one asking for the file and not Chambers.

Abdulmutallab said he longer wanted the government-appointed lawyer in September and would speak for himself in court. The US Attorney’s Office overseeing his prosecution also objected to the lawyer’s second recent request that AbdulMutallab should not be required to attend his upcoming status conference on January 25.

When he had fired the government-appointed lawyer, the US federal court insisted that AbdulMutallab must have a standby lawyer. Judge Nancy Edmunds in October appointed Chambers to serve as standby counsel to AbdulMutallab, explaining that the suspect had no experience in US law.

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