A Thai court convicted two Iranian men Thursday of participating in a failed bomb plot that was exposed when an accidental explosion blew up their Bangkok villa where they were staying.
Both Thai and Israeli officials say the plot was aimed at Israeli diplomats in Bangkok. Neither of the two defendants were charged with terrorism or attempting to kill Israelis.
Israel has accused Iran of being behind the plot. Iran has denied the charges.
Bangkok’s Criminal Court sentenced Saeid Moradi, age 29, to life in prison for the attempted murder of a Thai policeman and of possessing explosives that injured civilians and damaged property. It sentenced Mohammad Kharzei, age 43, to 15 years for possessing explosives.
On Valentines Day, February 14, 2012 an explosion accidentally blew apart their villa. Moradi tried to flee in a taxi, but when the taxi did not stop he hurled explosives at the car.
He continued to flee on a crowded Bangkok street, but then threw explosives at a passing police vehicle. The bombs detonated near him, blowing off both of his legs. He was then apprehended by authorities.
Both Moradi and Kharzei claimed they were unaware of the explosives in their villa. Moradi also claimed he was carrying the explosives out of the house to dispose of them, and was not aware that they were similar to the “sticky” bombs used in foiled attacks against Israeli diplomats in both India and in the former Soviet republic of Georgia the day before the Bangkok incident.
Kharzei said under oath that he was not a terrorist and knew nothing about the explosives. He claimed he first met Moradi at a Tehran airport before boarding a flight to Bangkok.
Moradi had faced a possible death penalty. The defence lawyer for both men said he would consult his clients to see if they wanted to appeal the sentences.
A third suspect in the case, an Iranian named Masoud Sedaghatzadeh, age 31, was being detained in Malaysia where he has appealed an extradition order. He had fled to Malaysia the day following the explosions. Image/Google Images