02/15/2016, 11.07
THAILAND
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Bangkok bombing: Confession of "guilt" extorted under torture

Denounced by lawyer for Bilal Mohammed, Chinese Uyghur, one of the two indicted and due to appear tomorrow before the military court. Military junta reject claims: "Nothing has been done to the suspects while they were under arrest." Many gray areas in the investigation, declared closed several times and then reopened.

 

Bangkok (AsiaNews) - Bilal Mohammed, the ethnic Uyghur who confessed to involvement in the attack in Bangkok in August 2015, was reportedly tortured and forced to admit his guilt. This was stated by his lawyer, Schoochart Kanpai, on the eve of the Mohammed’s appearance before a military court. According to police, Mohammed and Yusufu Mieraili (only other suspect detained), spontaneously confessed their role in the explosion of the bomb which caused 20 dead and 100 wounded, including many tourists.

At the time of the confession - the lawyer said after visiting his client in prison - Mohammed "was tortured and put under pressure. This is why he confirmed the charges. He goes on to say that he had no involvement in the case. The only charge that he admits is that of illegal immigration. "

Through its spokesman, the members of the ruling military junta said they were "quite sure that nothing happened to the suspects while they were under arrest."

Mihammed and Mieraili were indicted in November 2015 for 10 counts (including premeditated murder and conspiracy) but not for terrorism. The Bangkok authorities, although the investigation suggested it, immediately discarded the hypothesis of terrorism to avoid affecting the tourism sector and damage the country's economy. During the preliminary hearing he two neither confirmed nor denied the charges due to translation problems.

Last August’s attack has never been claimed. The fact the two leading suspects were Uyghur increased suspicions that is was revenge for the forced extradition suffered by the Muslim minority in July.

Police investigations have repeatedly been criticized by the population and experts. While investigations were still ongoing, the first of September, police pocketed the reward (85 thousand dollars). On September 29, the former head of the department Gen. Poompunmuang declared the "case closed" and handed over another 82 thousand dollars in prize money for his men.

Moreover, the alleged "mastermind" of the attack, identified as Izaan, is still at large along with 15 other suspects (all Uyghurs). For these reasons, a Bangkok AsiaNews source described the entire investigation "a joke".

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