Thailand jails Iranians over bomb plot

Men protest their innocence after conviction for taking part in botched plan allegedly aimed at Israeli diplomats in Bangkok

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The Independent Online

Two Iranian men have been convicted in Thailand of taking part in a botched bomb plot last year apparently targeting Israeli diplomats.

A Thai court sentenced Saeid Moradi, 29, to life in prison for attempting to murder a police officer and possessing explosives that damaged property and injured several civilians. It sentenced 43-year-old Mohammad Kharzei to 15 years in jail for possessing explosives.

The plot was exposed last year after a cache of homemade explosives blew apart the Bangkok house where the pair were staying. Israeli and Thai officials have said it was aimed at Israeli diplomats in the country's capital Bangkok, though Iran has denied this.

The pair's defence lawyer, Kittipong Kiattanapoom said he would consult with both men and their families to find out if they wanted to appeal. 

Moradi, a factory technician from Tehran and a former soldier, had faced a death sentence. 

He lost his legs as he tried to flee the house on a crowded Bangkok street. He was carrying explosives and dropped them in the street as police chased him. 

Moradi had said he was carrying the explosives out of the house in an attempt to dispose of them. He also said he was not aware that the explosives were similar to sticky bombs used against Israeli diplomats in foiled attacks a day before the Bangkok incident in India and Georgia. Investigators said the bombs found at the Bangkok home had round, coin-like magnets on them. 

Kharzei has testified that he was not a terrorist and had nothing to do with the explosions. He says he had not known Moradi until they met at an airport in Tehran before boarding their flight to Thailand. 

Another Iranian suspect, Masoud Sedaghatzadeh, 31, was detained in Malaysia, where he has appealed an extradition order. He met Moradi and Kharzei in the Thai city of Pattaya, and fled to Malaysia the day after the explosion.