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Judge denies bail to accused shoe bomber



BOSTON, Massachusetts (CNN) -- A federal judge denied bail Friday to the man suspected of trying to ignite plastic explosives in his shoes aboard a trans-Atlantic flight last week.

FBI special agent Margaret Cronin testified that tests indicate the sneakers worn by Richard Reid aboard American Airlines Flight 63 contained the explosive TATP, or triacetone triperoxide.

Passengers and crew members subdued and sedated Reid, 28, when he tried to light his shoes, and the plane was diverted from its original destination of Miami, Florida, to Boston, Massachusetts.

Since his arrest last Saturday, Reid has been under suicide watch at a prison in Plymouth, Massachusetts, about 40 miles south of Boston.

Cronin, the only witness to testify during Friday's probable-cause hearing, said an explosives expert told her that if the explosive in the sneakers had been detonated against the outside wall of the plane, it would have blasted a hole in the fuselage.

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Investigators say Richard Reid traveled extensively through Europe and Israel in recent months. CNN's Susan Candiotti reports (December 28)

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Technology is being developed to detect explosives on travelers' bodies, but some potential problems are being mentioned. CNN's Kathleen Koch reports (December 28)

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Reid's shoes allegedly contained several bomb-related materials including the explosive PETN, plastic chemicals to gel and mold the explosives and TATP, a highly sensitive material needed to detonate the shoe bombs, sources told CNN. Reid also had a safety fuse containing black powder, a U.S. government official said.

Partly based on Cronin's testimony and the conclusion that Reid posed a flight risk, U.S. District Judge Judith Dein denied bail for the British national and ordered that he be held in custody for further hearings.

Reid has had previous run-ins with the law, U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan said in a news conference Friday.

Another federal prosecutor "indicated on public record that (Reid) has double-digit convictions on his record," Sullivan said. "He didn't describe what those convictions were for, except it was crimes against persons and crimes against property."

The British Home Office said Friday that Reid twice stayed at Feltham Young Offenders Institution in West London -- for 10 days in 1992 and one month in 1994. It was not known Friday what charges led to Reid's incarceration there.

Two public defenders appointed for Reid said they have seen no government evidence linking Reid to any terrorist group.

But Brixton Mosque chairman Abdul Haqq Baker said both Reid and Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person so far charged with conspiracy in the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States, attended the same south London mosque in late 1998 and early 1999.

Some al Qaeda detainees in Afghanistan claimed to recognize Reid when U.S. interrogators showed them his picture, officials said. But authorities cautioned that they have no independent confirmation linking Reid to any terrorist organization.

Reid told the FBI that he made the shoe bombs himself, a U.S. government official said.

Sullivan said "there was no credible evidence to suggest there was an accomplice" aiding Reid on Flight 63. Other officials have suggested the explosive's "very, very sophisticated" nature suggest Reid did not act alone.

The suspect's father, Robin Reid, told a British newspaper Friday that his son was "determined enough" to commit suicide but would never have harmed others unless he was "brainwashed."

Israeli government officials said Reid traveled to this Middle Eastern country for "around 10 days" in July before apparently heading by land to Egypt. Reid then moved to Amsterdam, where he worked as a dishwasher at several restaurants between August through November, according to French and Belgian authorities.

After a 10-day stay in Belgium, Reid apparently traveled by train to Paris on December 16. Six days later -- and one day after being turned aside by airport officials -- he boarded Flight 63 in Paris.



 
 
 
 


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