U.S. seeks extradition of pilot accused of training hijackers
Tuesday, November 27, 2001
Associated Press WriterLONDON (AP) -- U.S. authorities formally began proceedings Tuesday to extradite an Algerian pilot accused of training some the hijackers who crashed a jet into the Pentagon on Sept. 11.
However, prosecutors said the United States is not immediately seeking to extradite Lotfi Raissi, 27, on charges related to the attack -- only on charges of falsifying an application for a U.S. pilots license.
Raissi, an Algerian, was arrested in London in September.
Prosecutors said Raissi made several trips to the United States this summer, trained with several of the suspected hijackers and flew with one of them on June 23 from Las Vegas to Arizona.
Raissi appeared Tuesday at Belmarsh Magistrates Court. He was ordered held pending further hearings.
British prosecutor Paul Warner, acting on behalf of U.S. authorities, said Britain had received an extradition request from the United States on Friday. The request showed Raissi had been indicted by a U.S. grand jury on two counts of making false statements on a Federal Aviation Administration application for a pilot's license, Warner said.
Raissi allegedly lied about a theft conviction and failed to mention a knee operation he had undergone.
Warner also said U.S. prosecutors planned to charge Raissi with 11 charges connected to the falsification of immigration forms.
At a previous court hearing, prosecutors said a video seized by police shows Raissi with Hani Hanjour, identified by U.S. authorities as one of the suspected hijackers.
Raissi's lawyer, Hugo Keith, said Tuesday that the identification of Hanjour had since been disproved.