Detroit: A young Nigerian man on Wednesday
pleaded guilty to trying to kill nearly 300 people aboard a
US-bound airliner on Christmas Day 2009 by igniting explosives
secreted in his underwear.
"Do you understand that you have the right to remain
silent?" judge Nancy Edmunds asked the 25-year-old Umar Farouk
Abdulmutallab, who fired his own lawyers and is representing
himself at the trial in Detroit, Michigan.
Abdulmutallab, wearing a blazer over a collarless shirt,
his hands clasped in front of him, replied "Yes."
"Do I understand correctly that you wish to waive that
right to plead guilty to all the charges in the indictment?"
asked the judge. "Yes," again came the reply, this time met
with gasps of shock from the gathered media.
Edmunds read through each of the eight terrorism-related
charges. Each time, Abdulmutallab said "I plead guilty," and
when asked by the judge whether he was pleading guilty
because he "was guilty," the accused said "that`s right."
The surprise guilty pleas come a day after Abdulmutallab
declined to present opening statements to jurors.
"Has anyone promised you that I would go easy on you if
you pleaded guilty?" asked Edmunds. "No," the Nigerian
The plot, which US officials say was the work of al Qaeda
in the Arabian Peninsula, failed because the explosives
stitched in his underwear never detonated fully and instead
caused a massive fireball.