A former American Airlines mechanic, Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani, could face 20 years in prison for willfully disabling an aircraft. Prosecutors said on Wednesday, Sept. 18, that he has terrorist ties and wanted Allah to harm non-Muslims.
However, people are linking his crime to terrorists after ISIS propaganda was found on his phone. A video depicting people being shot was sent from his phone. Alani also told the individual he sent the video to that he wanted Allah to cause harm to non-Muslims, prosecutors say.
Prosecutors in court said another American Airlines employee came forward to say that Alani also had taken a trip to Baghdad and Mosul to visit his brother, who allegedly may be involved with ISIS, according to ABC News affiliate WPLG.
Alani’s roommate said that the trip was because Alani’s brother had been kidnapped, investigators found no evidence of his brother being kidnapped, nor did prosecutors provide evidence of a brother in ISIS. Photos from the trip on his phone show him smiling and posing with family members, prosecutors say.
Alani has not been charged for a terrorism-related crime.
Alani was arrested days before Sept. 11 and authorities in Miami have charged him with one count of willfully damaging, destroying, and disabling an aircraft. The former mechanic initially told investigators he did it because he was frustrated with a union dispute and wanted more overtime.
Airport surveillance captured Alani inserting styrofoam inside the nose of the plane that disabled a part used to gauge airspeed and other critical flight data, an FBI affidavit stated. The plane was a Boeing 737 carrying 150 passengers in July. A sensor detected the problem just before takeoff and was then fired.
“Alani explained to law enforcement that he was upset at the stalled contract dispute between the union workers and America Airlines and that this dispute had affected him financially. Alani claimed that he tampered with the target aircraft in order to cause a delay or have the flight canceled in anticipation of obtaining overtime work,” an FBI affidavit filed at the time of his arrest stated.
When he was interviewed by law enforcement, court documents say, he admitted that he was driving the truck and allegedly tried to sabotage the aircraft, but said he didn’t mean to cause any harm to those on board.