Thailand confirms repatriation of Iranians held over 2012 bomb plot

Thai police officers escorting Iranian bomb suspect Mohammad Khazaei during an investigation at his rented house in Bangkok on Feb 20, 2012. PHOTO: AFP

BANGKOK (AFP) - Thailand confirmed on Thursday (Nov 26) it had repatriated three Iranians it jailed over a 2012 bomb plot in Bangkok, in an announcement that came after Teheran freed an Australian-British lecturer imprisoned for alleged spying.

The kingdom's corrections department said two of the men - Masoud Sedaghatzadeh and Saeid Moradi - were transferred as prisoners, while the third, Mohammad Khazaei, was granted a royal pardon in August.

Thai officials have not explicitly linked the transfer with the release of Middle East scholar Kylie Moore-Gilbert, who returned to Australia after two years in detention in Iran on espionage charges.

But Iranian state TV said on Wednesday that Dr Moore-Gilbert was swapped for three Iranians.

The trio freed by Thailand had all been jailed over a botched bomb plot that Israel linked to a spate of attacks on its diplomats around the world.

The plot came to light on Valentine's Day 2012, when a huge explosion ripped the roof off a house in suburban Bangkok after bombs apparently detonated accidentally inside.

Moradi threw a bomb at police as he fled the scene but succeeded only in blowing his own legs off, while Khazaei made it to the airport before being apprehended.

In 2013 a Bangkok court jailed Moradi for life for attempted murder and sentenced Khazaei to 15 years for possession of explosives.

Sedaghatzadeh fled to Malaysia before being extradited some years later. Details of his conviction and sentence were not immediately available.

Two other suspects in the case are believed to have fled to Iran.

Israel accused Teheran of waging a terror campaign over the plot, which emerged a day after bomb attacks on its diplomats in India and Georgia.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.