Thai police backtracking on 'bombing organizer'
Police say probe has not indicated Chinese national from Xinjiang is mastermind of bombing, casting doubt on information from arrested suspect

Thai police are backtracking on accusations that a Chinese national from northwestern Xinjiang is the "organizer” of the Aug. 17 Bangkok bombing, casting doubt on informatıon obtained from an arrested suspect, local media reported Sunday.

The Chinese man, who left Thailand for Bangladesh on the eve of the bombing and for whom an arrest warrant was issued Saturday for "illegal possession of explosives”, has been identified by Thai authorities as Abdurahman Abudusataer -- nicknamed "Ishan.”

One of the three arrested suspects, Yusufu Mireaili, told police during questioning earlier this week that "Ishan” had arranged several meetings to organize the bombing and had assigned tasks to all participants in the attack, the Bangkok Post reported Wednesday.

General Prawut Thavornsiri, police spokesperson, said Saturday that the investigation has so far "not indicated that Ishan is the mastermind, in line with Mr. Mireraili’s testimony that he used to stay at the apartment in Nong Chok.”

He added that it was however possible "that Mr. Mieraili might have withheld key information, especially on the mastermind.”

In mentioning Nong Chok, Thavornsiri was referring to an apartment block in the eastern Bangkok suburb raided Aug. 29.

Another suspect, whose nationality has yet to be determined, was arrested in the raid during which security forces also discovered bomb-making materials and a stack of around 200 fake Turkish passports.

Security camera images of an apartment block in another eastern Bangkok suburb, Minburi, also showed Mireaili and Abudusataer entering and leaving the compound together several times.

Some foreign media have quoted the Bangladeshi police as saying that Abudusataer left Bangladesh for China on Aug. 30, while the Bangladeshi Embassy in Bangkok has not denied the reports.

Thavornsiri, however, said Saturday that Bangladesh’s ambassador to Thailand, Saida Muna Tasneem, had said the suspect had not left for China and his destination is still unconfirmed.

Thailand has so far issued 12 warrants for Thai, Chinese and Turkish suspects – including Abudusataer -- and others whose nationalities remain unclear.

Bangladesh has an extradition treaty with Thailand, as does China -- although given that Thailand succumbed to China's demands that it deport the 109 Uighur state media referred to as "terrorists" it is unlikely to return to Bangkok any found to be on Thailand's wanted list.

The deportation in July, which separated families in the process, had troubled human rights groups and infuriated Uighur organizations worldwide.

But Thai authorities have been wary of publicly establishing a connection between the deportation and the bombing, which left 20 people dead and more than 130 others injured.

Thai junta-leader-cum-Prime Minister General Prayuth Chan-ocha said Friday he had asked Chinese authorities for help in finding Abudusataer.

Last Modified: 2015-09-13 13:26:57
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