Court approves further detention for bomb suspect

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BANGKOK, Feb 22 – Thailand’s Criminal Court approved on Wednesday an extension to the detention of Mohammad Hazaei, one of the suspects in the Sukhumvit bomb incidents last week, and the suspect is being detained at high-security Bangkok Remand Prison.

Security was tightened along the route where police brought Hazaei to seek court approval for a further 12-day detention.

He was charged with conspiracy to make and possess explosive devices intended to cause harm to others.

Police investigators said they opposed bail, citing possible flight risk as the case concerned serious offences with severe punishment. In addition, the explosive devices found were especially powerful and destructive, posing a threat to the public. The suspect, if released, might tamper with witnesses or evidence.

Mr Hazaei was taken into police custody at Suvarnabhumi Airport last week as he was trying to board a flight to Malaysia.

So far, arrest warrants have been issued for five suspects, with two suspects still at large, while police are gathering evidence to seek an additional arrest warrant for a sixth suspect.

Thailand on Tuesday sent a request to Malaysia for extradition of Masoud Sedaghatzadeh, a suspect in this explosion case, who was arrested by Malaysian authorities in Kuala Lumpur, one day after three explosions in Sukhumvit area.

Meanwhile, Thai Defence Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat said he could not yet confirm whether the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organisation (MKO), an exiled Iranian opposition group, was behind the blasts as further investigation was needed.

The Thai defence minister referred to a report in the Bangkok Post which quoted Syedsulaiman Husaini, Shi’ite leader of Thailand, as saying  on Sunday that the four Iranians suspected of involvement in a botched bomb plot targeting Israeli diplomats in Bangkok were members of an exiled Iranian opposition group which wanted the incident to reflect badly on Tehran.

He claimed the four belonged to the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organisation (MEK), MKO, and the People’s Mujahedeen Organisation of Iran (PMOI), which aims to overthrow the current Iranian government.

The MKO has been on a US State Department list of foreign terrorist organisations since 1977.