(AP) — A Qatari diplomat was on his way to meet an imprisoned al-Qaida agent when he touched off a bomb scare by slipping into an airline bathroom for a smoke, officials said Thursday as they announced plans to send the diplomat home.
A State Department official and another person close to the matter say Mohammed Al-Madadi was going to meet Ali Al-Marri in prison. Consular officials frequently visit foreigners held in the United States to make sure they are being treated well.
The visit with such a high-profile prisoner suggests that Al-Madadi would have been very aware of terrorism concerns when he sneaked into the plane’s bathroom for a smoke and, according to authorities, joked about lighting his shoe on fire.
Al-Madidi enjoys diplomatic immunity from U.S. prosecution and will not be criminally charged, authorities said. The State Department official said Qatar had not yet informed the administration how they will handle the case.