September 18, 2019 / 7:13 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 2-American Airlines mechanic accused of sabotage will remain behind bars

(Adds background on the case, company details)

Sept 18 (Reuters) - A U.S. federal judge on Wednesday ordered that an American Airlines mechanic charged with purposely damaging an aircraft that was due to take off from Miami with 150 aboard remain behind bars before a trial, court papers showed.

Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani, who is no longer employed by American, is a flight risk and a danger to the community, the court said. The incident occurred in July.

According to local media, U.S. Magistrate Judge Chris McAliley cited new evidence of potential terrorism sympathies when denying bail, including videos on Alani's cellphone depicting Islamic State mass murders.

However, court papers on Wednesday did not show any change in the charge against Alani, a U.S. citizen, to suggest any link to terrorism.

"We are cooperating with federal authorities in this investigation. The safety of our customers and team members remains our top priority," American Airlines said in a statement.

When law enforcement officials interviewed Alani after his arrest, he claimed he was upset over stalled labor talks and that he had tampered with the aircraft hoping that a delay or cancellation would lead to overtime work.

Pilots aborted the take-off after receiving an error message and no one was injured.

American's mechanics have not had a joint contract since the carrier merged with U.S. Airways in 2013. Both sides are talking before a mediator this week in Washington.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said last week that it had revoked Alani's mechanic certificate. (Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington and Tracy Rucinski in Chicago Editing by Marguerita Choy and Matthew Lewis)

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