Saudi man with pressure cooker arrested at Detroit airport


People embrace before a moment of silence honoring the Boston Marathon bombing victims in Copley Square, near the bombing sites, on April 22, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts.


Mario Tama

What object is technically legal to bring on an airplane but most likely to get you thrown in jail? In the wake of the tragic Boston bombings, pressure cooker now seems to be the most likely answer.

Hussain Al Khawahir, a tourist visiting from Saudi Arabia, was arrested at Detroit Metro Airport after officials found that he was missing a page from his passport and was carrying a pressure cooker in his luggage. In the criminal complaint, viewed by the Detroit Free Press and other agencies, officials allege that Al Khawahir changed his story about the pressure cooker.

Police say that he first claimed that he was bringing the pressure cooker from Saudi Arabia as a gift for his nephew in Ohio, because pressure cookers are not sold in the United States.

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He then admitted that pressure cookers are in fact sold in the United States, but complained that they are cheaply made, US officials allege. 

At his court appearance today, however, federal officials didn't make it clear whether or not they think the suspect was actually planning an attack.  

"I am in the dark, too," Rita Chastang, his court-appointed lawyer, told The Detroit News. And US Attorney Barbara McQuade declined to comment on the case to the paper. 

However, a spokesman for the prosecutor's office told Reuters that officials simply need more time to investigate the case before they can file charges.