• Bangkok bomb trial starts after months of delays


    BANGKOK: The long-delayed trial of two Uighur men accused of bombing a Bangkok shrine finally kicked off on Tuesday as a military court allowed Beijing to supply translators for the suspects despite their objections. Yusufu Mieraili and Bilal Mohammed are accused of planting a bomb in a Hindu shrine in Bangkok’s commercial heart in August 2015 that left 20 dead, mostly ethnic Chinese tourists. The blast came weeks after Thailand’s junta forcibly repatriated 109 Uighurs to China, where rights activists say the Muslim minority faces cultural and religious repression. The timing prompted speculation that the attack was part of a revenge plot against a country that had been a key transit hub for Uighurs as Thailand’s military leaders grew closer to Beijing. Thai authorities have rejected that theory saying the attackers were part of a people-smuggling network angered by a recent crack down, a motive most analysts say is simply not compelling.



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