Thailand officials deny that Bangkok blast suspect was beaten in custody

Bangkok blast suspects Adem Karadag (front) and Yusufu Mieraili are escorted by prison officers as they leave the military court in Bangkok, Thailand on April 21, 2016.
Bangkok blast suspects Adem Karadag (front) and Yusufu Mieraili are escorted by prison officers as they leave the military court in Bangkok, Thailand on April 21, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thai officials on Wednesday (May 18) denied that one of two ethnic Uighur Muslims from China accused of involvement in a deadly bombing in Thailand last year was beaten in custody.

Adem Karadag broke down in court on Tuesday, lifted his shirt to show bruises and said he was beaten twice this month in custody.

A medical examination on Wednesday found no evidence of mistreatment, said Mr Kobkiat Kasivivat, deputy permanent secretary for the Justice Ministry.

A transfer request submitted by Karadag's lawyers would be considered, Mr Kobkiat said.

Twenty people were killed and more than 120 wounded in the bombing on Aug 17 last year at a Hindu shrine and tourist attraction in Bangkok. Five of the dead were from mainland China.

The police have arrested two suspects, Yusufu Mieraili and Karadag, and have issued arrest warrants for 15 others, eight of whom are thought to be either Turkish or in Turkey, according to warrants and police statements.

Karadag and Mieraili have denied all charges against them.

Karadag and Mieraili are being held at a correction facility in Bangkok's 11th Army Circle base where two suspects died while in detention last year.

The facility is for those the government deem a security threat.

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, who is also defence minister, said Karadag had not been mistreated.

"It's not true," Mr Prawit said. "He probably made up the story."

Police say Karadag was caught on CCTV footage at the shrine, sitting on a bench and slipping off a bulky backpack before walking away, just before the blast.