Bangkok bomb trial of two Chinese Uygurs is postponed after interpreter faces drugs charge

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 23 August, 2016, 4:21pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 23 August, 2016, 4:21pm

The trial of two men accused of involvement in the deadly bombing of a shrine in Bangkok in August was postponed on Tuesday for more than three weeks to allow for a new interpreter to be appointed.

Omer Kanat, the vice president of the World Uygur Congress, was named to replace the previous interpreter, who was relieved of his duties due to a drugs charge against him, said lawyer Chuchart Kanpai.

“I have asked the World Uygur Congress for the translator, and they are willing to help and will send Omer Kanat to help, with all expenses being the responsibility of the organisation,” Chuchart said.

Both men standing trial in the case are ethnic Uygurs from China.

Bilal Mohammed, also known as Adem Karadak, 31, from China’s Xinjiang autonomous region, was arrested 12 days after the August 17 blast at Bangkok’s Erawan Shrine, with 27-year old Yusufu Mieraili seized on September 1 in Sakaeo Province on the Thailand-Cambodia border.

Both men have denied involvement in the explosion, which killed 20 people and injured more than 100. A second explosion occurred at a Bangkok pier the following day, with no casualties.

Chuchart said it would take around seven days for the court to consider the new interpreter’s background, and said he feels a ruling on the case will be made by the end of next year.

The previous interpreter was arrested on June 1 after being found to be in possession of marijuana and crystal methamphetamine. He also told the court he had been threatened and ordered not to assist in the case.

The first hearing, which was scheduled for Tuesday, will now take place on September 15-16, due to the replacement, the court handling the case said.