Relative of man arrested at Metro Airport takes a swing at reporter after hearing in federal court

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Hussain Al Khawahir never heard of the last month's bombings in Boston or the idea of a pressure cooker being used as an explosive, according to his attorney James Howarth who spoke to reporters after Al Khawahir appeared in federal court Tuesday.

"He doesn't know anything about Boston," Howarth said. "And he sure doesn't know anything about bombs."

The 33-year-old man from Saudi Arabia arrived at Metro Airport on Sunday for a visit with his nephew who attends the University of Toledo. But Al Khawahir was arrested after he reportedly gave two different stories about why he had the pressure cooker and federal agents discovered two pages missing from his passport.

Al Khawahir waived his right to a detention hearing because fighting to be released pending the outcome of the case right now would have been pointless due to the fact that he also has an immigration hold on him, according to Howarth.

When a relative, believed to be Al Khawahir's nephew, left the courthouse in downtown Detroit with a female companion, he tried to hit one of several reporters who were asking about Al Khawahir and the pressure cooker.

Howarth tells Action News that his client is a married father of three and has been employed by the same metallurgical company in Saudi Arabia for 14 years. He was set to return home at the end of the month.

Al Khawahir reportedly told federal agents that he was bringing the pressure cooker for his nephew because pressure cookers are not sold in the U. S., but then it seems he changed his story saying that his nephew did have a pressure cooker but it was broken.

In court documents, a Customs and Border Protection Enforcement Officer reported that Al Khawahir "Willingly and knowingly used an altered Saudi Arabian passport with missing pages and made a materially false statement to a CBP Officer about a pressure cooker in his possession, all to gain entry into the United States."

"He is astounded as I think you would have been before the Boston Marathon if you were told you could be held in federal prison because you carried a cooking utensil with you on a plane," Howarth told Action News. "I think you would have been as shocked as he is right now."

Howarth said a law firm in New York hired him to represent Al Khawahir, but he would not elaborate.

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