Shrine bomb trial postponed

The Myanmar Times - - World -

THE trial of two Chi­nese Uighurs ac­cused of plant­ing a deadly bomb in Bangkok last year was postponed yes­ter­day be­cause the de­fence was un­able to pro­duce a Uighur trans­la­tor, the mil­i­tary court ruled.

Yusufu Mieraili and Bi­lal Mo­hammed, both mem­bers of China’s Tur­kic­s­peak­ing Mus­lim mi­nor­ity, are ac­cused of plant­ing a bomb at a pop­u­lar Hindu shrine in the heart of the Thai cap­i­tal in Au­gust 2015.

The blast killed 20, in­clud­ing for­eign­ers, and wounded more than 100 peo­ple, mak­ing it the worst as­sault on Thai soil in re­cent his­tory.

Thai au­thor­i­ties have been crit­i­cised for a murky in­ves­ti­ga­tion that ap­peared to wind down shortly af­ter the ar­rest of the two men, leav­ing more than a dozen key sus­pects at large.

The case was fur­ther com­pli­cated af­ter the pair’s sole trans­la­tor, an Uzbek na­tional, was ar­rested on drug charges in June.

He is on the run and the de­fence has been un­able to se­cure a new trans­la­tor in time, the de­fen­dant’s lawyer told the mil­i­tary court in Bangkok yes­ter­day.

The judge agreed to post­pone the trial un­til the next hear­ing date on Septem­ber 15, ac­cord­ing to an AFP re­porter in­side the court­room, where note-tak­ing is banned.

The trans­la­tor ac­cused po­lice of plant­ing drugs on him as pun­ish­ment for help­ing Thai­land’s Uighurs – a Mus­lim mi­nor­ity that rights groups say face per­se­cu­tion in their home­land in north­west China, forc­ing many to flee.

Many an­a­lysts be­lieve the bomb­ing was a re­tal­i­a­tion for the Thai junta’s forcible repa­tri­a­tion of 109 Uighurs to China sev­eral weeks be­fore the at­tack.

But Thai au­thor­i­ties have in­sisted the two in­ci­dents are un­re­lated.

Yes­ter­day, the de­fen­dants – who deny in­volve­ment in the at­tack – were es­corted by se­cu­rity of­fi­cers to the back en­trance of a mil­i­tary court in the junta-ruled coun­try.

They have spent the past year held in a jail in­side a mil­i­tary bar­racks, where Mo­hammed has ac­cused his cap­tors of beat­ings and deny­ing him ha­lal food. Thai au­thor­i­ties have de­nied those al­le­ga­tions.

Mo­hammed, also known as Adem Karadag, is ac­cused of be­ing the man seen on CCTV footage plac­ing a back­pack at the Erawan shrine mo­ments be­fore the ex­plo­sion.

Pros­e­cu­tors say he was caught a few days later in a flat here sur­rounded by ex­plo­sives.

Mieraili is ac­cused of de­liv­er­ing the back­pack bomb. –

Photo: AFP

A ve­hi­cle car­ry­ing a sus­pect of the Erawan Shrine bomb­ing a year ago ar­rives at the Mil­i­tary Court in Bangkok yes­ter­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.