A man accused of stabbing a police officer at a Michigan airport in what authorities are treating as a possible terror attack will remain in custody, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Amor Ftouhi, 49, charged with committing violence at an international airport, will be held without bond pending trial in federal court, US Magistrate Judge Stephanie Dawkins Davis ordered. Ftouhi mumbled “Allahu akbar” through a medical mask as the hearing started, CNN-affiliate WDIV reported.
Ftouhi shouted the same Arabic words — meaning “God is Great” — as he stabbed Lt. Jeff Neville on June 21 at Flint International Airport, a criminal complaint alleges. The FBI is investigating the stabbing as an act of terrorism, Special Agent David Gelios said at a news conference earlier this month. Federal prosecutors are expected to present the case to a grand jury.
Ftouhi’s court-appointed attorney, Joan Morgan, said in court she consented to detention on behalf of her client. If Ftouhi was to be granted bond he would be held by US immigration and would not be released. He is due back in court July 5.
Morgan requested that an Arabic or French translator be present at future proceedings to aid Ftouhi, a citizen of Canada and Tunisia. Judge Davis said the court would grant that request.
Ftouhi had arrived at the airport on the day of the stabbing carrying two bags, according to a criminal complaint. He spent about 40 minutes in the airport’s public areas — including a bathroom where he dropped his bags — before the attack, the complaint said.
After wounding Neville, Ftouhi continued to yell “Allah” several times, followed by something similar to “you have killed people in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, and we are all going to die,” the complaint said.
The stabbing caused a 12-inch-long neck laceration that left Neville with “life-threatening injuries,” Hurley Medical Center trauma surgeon Dr. Donald Scholten said in a press conference.
Neville is expected to recover and was released from Hurley Medical Center Monday, according to hospital spokeswoman Ilene Cantor.