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African Immigrants Plead 'Not Guilty' to Fake Bomb Incident

In this Sheriff's booking photo released on August 10, 2011, by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, (from left to right) Asa Shani, Shullu Gorado and Luwiza Daman are shown

Three African immigrants to the U.S. have pleaded not guilty to what has been described as a fake bomb incident at a U.S. airport earlier this month.

The suspects - Luwiza Daman, Shullu Gorado and Asa Shani - who are from Eritrea entered the pleas Friday in a federal court in Arizona.

Officers checking a carry-on bag found a cell phone taped to a candy box. Prosecutors say it looked like an explosive device.

The suspects said the phone was a gift for a relative they were going to visit and that it was taped because the phone was broken.

Although no bomb was involved, the ability to move a replica of an explosive device past airport security has raised concerns about airport safety. The Federal Bureau of Investigation described the cell phone incident as a possible test of security.

The suspects remain in custody, pending a hearing next week for two of them. A judge set their trial for October 4. Each suspect faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.