Britain charges man over grenade brought onto plane

February 18, 2003|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

LONDON - A Venezuelan man arrested last week at Gatwick Airport with a live grenade in his luggage was formally charged with terrorist crimes yesterday. The government said that army patrols at Britain's airports would be kept in place for the foreseeable future.

The Venezuelan, Hasil Muhammed Rahaham-Alan, 37, was charged with possession of an article for the purpose of committing terrorism, possession of an explosive substance with intent to endanger life or damage property and carrying a dangerous article on a British-registered aircraft.

He appeared at the 5-minute hearing at Bow Street Magistrates' Court spoke in a soft voice only to confirm his name, birth date and Caracas address.

He was accompanied to the dock by a Spanish interpreter, but his attorney, Peter Corrigan, said that he could understand the proceedings in English and that the translator was present in case clarification were needed.

No application for bail was made, and Rahaham-Alan was ordered held over for an appearance Feb. 24 at the Old Bailey in central London.

He was arrested Thursday after customs officials discovered the grenade during a baggage inspection. He had flown in on a British Airways flight from Caracas that stopped in Bogota, Colombia and Barbados.

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