Friday, April 16

Thailand Begins Trial in 2015 Shrine Bombing

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FILE – Police officers escort suspects in the blast at Erawan Shrine, Bilal Mohammad, front, and Mieraili Yusufu, rear, as they arrive at a military court in Bangkok, Thailand, Nov. 24, 2015.

The trial of two men accused of carrying out the August 2015 bombing at a popular shrine in Thailand began Tuesday after being delayed because of a dispute about translators provided for the defendants.

Bilal Mohammed and Mieraili Yusufu are facing 10 counts, including murder and illegal possession of explosives, connected to the blast at the Erawan Shrine in Bangkok that killed 20 people. They deny the charges.

The two are Chinese ethnic Uighurs and objected to the two translators provided by the Chinese Embassy because they said China does not respect Uighurs. The court rejected those concerns.

China’s Xinjiang region is home to the Uighur ethnic minority, many of whom complain of repression and have been the subject of an intense anti-terror crackdown by Beijing.

Thai officials say the bombing was carried out as revenge for a crackdown on a people-smuggling network.