DETROIT — A Saudi man was arrested at Detroit Metropolitan Airport after federal agents said he lied about why he was traveling with a pressure cooker, but his nephew said Monday that it was all a misunderstanding about a device he simply wanted for cooking.
Two pressure cookers were used in last month’s Boston Marathon bombings.
Hussain Al Khawahir was being held in Detroit on allegations of lying to Customs and Border Protection agents and of using a passport with a missing page. He was arrested Saturday.
His nephew, Nasser Almarzooq, said he had asked his uncle to bring him the pressure cooker so he could make lamb. The college student said two pressure cookers he bought in the United States were ‘‘not good at all,’’ and said the ones available in Saudi Arabia are higher quality. ‘‘I’m Arabic,’’ said Almarzooq . ‘‘I always use pressure cookers to cook.’’
A criminal complaint alleges that Al Khawahir arrived at the airport Saturday on a flight from Saudi Arabia via Amsterdam and that he told agents he was visiting his nephew. He originally said he brought the pressure cooker with him because pressure cookers aren’t sold in America, then later said his nephew had bought one but it ‘‘was cheap’’ and broke after one use, according to the complaint.
Authorities have said that in the Boston Marathon bombing, brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev set off two shrapnel-packed pressure-cooker bombs April 15 near the race finish line. The attack killed three people and injured more than 260 others.