Blast suspect wanted to go to Turkey

Bilal Mohammed at Erawan Shrine in Bangkok last month for a re-enactment of the blast. He spoke to his lawyer Chuchart Kanphai in English on Thursday.
Bilal Mohammed at Erawan Shrine in Bangkok last month for a re-enactment of the blast. He spoke to his lawyer Chuchart Kanphai in English on Thursday.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

He tells lawyer he was promised help to travel there if he planted bomb at Bangkok shrine

BANGKOK • A prime suspect in the bomb attack at Bangkok's Erawan Shrine has told his lawyer that he was promised an opportunity to travel to Turkey if he planted the bomb as near to the crowded religious site as possible.

Bilal Mohammed, previously identified as Adem Karadag, spoke to his lawyer Chuchart Kanphai in English on Thursday.

"Bilal is aware that his alleged crime carries a heavy penalty and hopes his confession will entitle him to leniency," Mr Chuchart said after visiting his client at a temporary prison inside a military base.

Bilal has reiterated that he is a Uighur but has refused to specify his hometown in China out of concern that his relatives and friends may be affected, Mr Chuchart said.

"His family is in Turkey. So, he wanted to go to Turkey too," the lawyer added.

Bilal stood by his previous statement that he did not know any other suspects wanted in the case except Abdullah Abdullahman, who allegedly told him to plant the bag containing the explosives and provided him with a wig to disguise himself, Mr Chuchart said.

"Bilal received the order (to carry out the attack) from Abdullah on Aug 16," he said, adding: "Abdullah had promised to help him travel to Malaysia and further to Turkey after he carried out his order."

Mr Chuchart said Bilal did not know the extent of the destruction his action had caused because he did not have access to TV.

"When I showed him the pictures of the attack, he appeared crestfallen and feels guilty," the lawyer said.

The Aug 17 attack at Erawan Shrine killed 20 people and injured more than 100 others.

The following day, another blast occurred near the Sathorn pier. There were no casualties in that explosion.

Ongoing investigations suggest the two blasts were related.

Mr Chuchart said he planned to visit Bilal again in two weeks. Bilal and Mieraili Yusufu are the only suspects in detention in Thailand. Several other suspects remain at large.

Police spokesman Prawut Thavornsiri said the investigation report for the prosecution of Bilal and Mieraili should be concluded within 24 days.

Lieutenant-General Prawut disclosed that police will ask the Foreign Ministry to invite officials from the Turkish embassy to discuss the case.

"For instance, we have to check passports involved in the case and locate where (suspects) Wanna Suansan and Emrah Davutoglu are," he said. Emrah, a Turkish national, is the husband of Wanna, a Thai.

THE NATION/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 10, 2015, with the headline 'Blast suspect wanted to go to Turkey'. Print Edition | Subscribe