Bangkok bomb trial finally begins after translator appointed

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 November, 2016, 2:18pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 November, 2016, 2:18pm

The trial of two men accused of involvement in a bomb attack which killed 20 people in Bangkok last year began on Tuesday, following months of delays as the court searched for an interpreter for the defendants.

Yusufu Mieraili, 27, and Bilal Mohammed, 31, also known as Adem Karadag, both ethnic Uygur Chinese, were appointed a translator by the Bangkok Military Court, despite the pair’s protestations that they did not trust the court’s choice.

On October 25, the court ordered that the Chinese Embassy in Bangkok be approached to provide a suitable translator – either Uygur to English, or Mandarin to Thai – as the defendants both held Chinese passports.

The move came after plans to use an interpreter from the World Uygur Congress were scrapped, and after the defendants said they could not understand their court-appointed interpreter, a woman who spoke Uzbek.

The two men are accused of involvement in the bombing of Bangkok’s Erawan Shrine on August 17, 2015, and are facing a number of charges including weapons offences, intention to kill and illegal immigration.

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At the hearing on Tuesday they complained that the newly appointed interpreter could not be trusted, as they had been selected by the Chinese Embassy. The court rejected the claim, and insisted that the trial would now proceed as planned. As well as killing 20 people, mostly Chinese tourists, the blast injured more than 120 others, and sparked a national manhunt for the perpetrators.