Two Bangkok terror attack accused appear before court

Bangkok, Feb 16 (IANS) Two men suspected of involvement in a terror attack last August in Bangkok that killed 20 people, appeared before Thailand’s military court on Tuesday.

The suspects, Mohamad Bilal and Yusufu Mieraili, face 10 charges, including conspiracy, premeditated murder and possession of explosives, EFE news reported.

According to police, both suspects confessed to their role in the attack carried out on August 17, 2015. However, their lawyer said that the confessions were obtained under torture.

The two accused — identified by the authorities as Uighurs, the Muslim minority group from China’s Xinjiang province — are the only ones arrested for the attack, which police attributed to a reprisal by organised crime groups in response to a reported police crackdown on human trafficking.

Police believe Bilal to be the man who appears on security cameras, wearing a yellow T-shirt and planting the backpack containing the bomb on the temple grounds just before the blast, whereas Mieraili would have been the one to detonate the bomb.

The investigations, rife with irregularities and contradictory statements by the police and the military junta, sparked speculations into the motives behind the attack, for which no group has yet claimed responsibility.

One of the theories linked the attack to the deportation of about 100 Uighurs, who were looking to travel to Turkey to seek asylum, especially as the temple is popular among Chinese tourists.

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