By John Abayomi, Deputy Online Editor, with agency reports
United States federal officials have chargedÂ the 23-year old Nigerian UmarÂ Farouk Abdul Mutallab , arrested overÂ an attempted terror attack on a US airliner on Christmas Day.
According to reports, US. District Judge Paul Borman read Mutallab the charges in a conference room at the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., where the former London university student is undergoing burn treatment sustained when Mutallab tried to ignite an explosive device , described by theÂ American security officials as a mixture of powder and liquid.
Reports further say, Mutallab smiled as he was wheeled into the room, his left thumb and right wrist bandaged .
According to US federal laws, a conviction on the charge could bring Mutallab up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Alhaji Mutallab warns US about his son
Four weeks ago, Mutallab’s father, Alhaji Umar Mutallab, former First Bank Plc ChairmanÂ had told the U.S. embassy in Abuja, that he was concerned about his son’s religious beliefs. This informationÂ according to reports was passed on to USÂ intelligence officials.
But US officials claimedÂ Â that though the JuniorÂ Mutallab has been on the US government’s many terror databases since November, after his father made the report,Â he was not placed on the official terror watch list or no-fly list.
His is one of about 550,000 names in the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment database, known as TIDE, which is maintained by the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center and was created in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Intelligence officials said they lacked enough information to place him in the 400,000-person terror watch list or on the no-fly list of fewer than 4,000 people who should be blocked from air travel.
Mutallab received a valid U.S. visa in June 2008 that will last through 2010.