Outrage Growing After Release of Qatari Diplomat Who Triggered Airplane Bomb Scare
There's growing outrage over the release of a foreign diplomat who triggered an airline shoe-bomb scare.
"I think they immediately should have arrested him and they should have prosecuted him to the fullest extent of the law," says Kate Hanni. Hanni heads the passenger group flyersrights.org.
The drama took place on a Washington-to-Denver flight. Here's the timeline:
United Flight 663 left Reagan National Airport at 5:19 p.m. EST.
At 8:30 p.m., a flight attendant noticed smoke coming from the bathroom.
When the diplomat was taken into custody by Federal Air Marshals, he reportedly made a joke about the whole thing. He allegedly said he had been trying to light his shoes on fire, triggering fears he was a shoe bomber. It now appears he was just smoking in the bathroom.
At 8:45 p.m., two fighter jets were scrambled to escort the airliner for the rest of the flight.
The plane landed at Denver at 8:54 p.m.
Thanks to diplomatic immunity, the diplomat was released without being charged.
"He needs to be prosecuted otherwise anyone else who wants to make a joke like this or actually light their shoes on fire in an airline bathroom is going to be able to get away with it if they're a diplomat and that's simply not okay," says Hanni, outraged.
The diplomat was identified as Mohammed Al-Madadi, the third secretary of the Qatari Embassy in Washington, D.C.