Asia

Bangkok bomb: Thai court charges two over Erawan blast

Suspects of the August 17 Bangkok blast, Bilal Mohammed (also known as Adem Karadag) and Yusufu Mieraili are escorted by soldiers and prison officers as they arrive at the military court in Bangkok, Thailand, 24 November 2015 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Bilal Mohammed (front) and Yusufu Mieraili have been charged on counts of murder but not terrorism

Two men have been charged by a military court in Thailand in connection with the bombing of a shrine in the capital Bangkok.

Twenty people were killed in the attack on the Erawan Shrine in August.

Authorities say Bilal Mohammed, also known as Adem Karadag, and Yusuf Mieraili have both confessed to their roles in the blast.

The two suspects have been indicted on 10 charges, including murder, but not terrorism.

A lawyer for one of the men told the Reuters news agency that the charges included premeditated murder, illegal possession of weapons, and murder.

"The court has accepted the 10 charges that prosecutors formally brought against the two men," said lawyer Schoochart Kanpai.

The two have been in custody for nearly three months.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The bomb on 17 August left 20 people dead and more than 120 injured

Documents sent by prosecutors to the court said both men were Chinese nationals from the Muslim Uighur minority.

China has long faced criticism for the perceived harsh restrictions it places on religion and culture in Xinjiang, where the majority of Uighurs live.

Thailand recently found itself in the spotlight following its forced repatriation of more than 100 Uighurs to China.

Police have released warrants for a total of 17 people over charges stemming from the attack. They believe many have fled the country.

The motive for the bombing remains unclear.

The Erawan shrine - with its four-faced golden statue of the Hindu god Brahma - is considered sacred by Thai Buddhists, and attracts many foreign visitors.

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