Erawan bombing trial adjourned to Sept 15
published : 23 Aug 2016 at 13:30
writer: Achara Ashayagachat
The first court hearing in the Erawan Shrine bombing trial has been postponed to next month because the interpreter appointed for the defendants has jumped bail on a drugs charge.
The Bangkok Military Court also rejected allegations by the two Uighur defendants that they were tortured in custody to confess to the bombing.
In previous preliminary hearings, the two men who are from the Uighur-speaking region of China have said they were tortured and mistreated by their jailors in military detention, and on Tuesday pleaded to be moved to a different correctional facility.
"After investigating these claims, the court finds them to be false and the defendants will remain where they are since this is a case of national security,'' one of the three judges on the panel ruled.
The judges, who have not been identified in keeping with protocol in military trials, said the defendants' safety may be at risk in a regular correctional facility because of the high-profile nature of the case, and that they were safer in military detention.
After the decision, the court approved the postponement of the trial as requested by defence lawyers, who applied for a change of interpreter. They explained the appointed translator, Bakadilo Sirogidin, an Uzbek, was facing a drugs charge and had skipped bail.
The next hearing was scheduled for Sept 15, with Pol Lt Col Tuaytep Wibunsin, a Special Branch Police officer, the first prosecution witness scheduled to testify. Pol Col Somkiart Ploythaptim of Lumpini police station, the second witness, is scheduled to testify the next day.
Senior defence counsel Schoochart Kanpai asked the court to approve Omer Katan, a Washington-based member of the World Uyghur Congress, as the new interpreter for Adem Karadag, also known as Bilal Mohammed, and Yusufu Mirelli throughout the trial.
The three-member bench withheld immediate approval, directing the military prosecutor to verify Mr Katan's qualifications and background within seven days.
The two defendants, ethnic Uighur Muslims from China, are charged with the bombing of the renowned shrine at Ratchaprasong intersection, Bangkok, on Aug 17, 2015, that killed 20 people and injured 125 others.
Adem Karadak, also known as Bilal Mohammad, (front) and Mierailli Yusufu are escorted by police from the 11th Military Circle to the military court on Nov 24, 2015 for indictment and setting of trial dates. (File photo by Apichart Jinakul)
- Erawan bombing