January 10, 2010 / 3:42 PM / 9 years ago

Wrong to give bomb suspect civilian rights: McCain

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is shown in this booking photograph released by the U.S. Marshals Service December 28, 2009. REUTERS/US Marshals Service/Handout

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Nigerian man who attempted to blow up a commercial jet outside Detroit on Christmas Day should be tried as an enemy combatant in a military court, a leading Republican Senator said on Sunday.

Senator John McCain, the Republican nominee for president in the 2008 election, said it would be a mistake to try Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, in a civilian court where he would “get lawyered up” and be afforded the right to withhold damaging information.

“To have a person be able to get lawyered up when we need that information very badly, I think betrays or contradicts the president’s view that we are at war,” McCain told CNN’s State of the Union with John King.

“That person should be tried as an enemy combatant,” McCain said. “He’s a terrorist.”

The U.S. civilian justice system affords some protections not afforded by some military courts.

Abdulmutallab is accused of attempting to ignite explosives in his underwear on a December 25 flight from Amsterdam to Detroit. He was subdued by other passengers after trying to ignite it.

Writing by Todd Eastham; Editing by Sandra Maler

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