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Iranian suspect tells Thai court 'stunned' to find bombs

April 26, 2013 12:48 A.M. (Updated: April 27, 2013 1:55 A.M.)
BANGKOK (AFP) -- An Iranian man whose legs were blown off during an alleged botched bomb plot last year against Israeli diplomats in Bangkok said Friday he found the explosives and was trying to dispose of them safely when they detonated.

Saeid Moradi, 29, told a Bangkok court that he was about to leave Thailand when he found four bombs hidden inside radios in a cupboard at a rented house in the city.

Two of the devices exploded as he ran into the street to throw them into a nearby canal -- the second tearing off his legs, he said.

Moradi and Mohammad Khazaei, 42, are among five Iranians suspected of involvement in the February 2012 blasts that followed attacks in India and Georgia and saw Tehran accused by Israel of a terror campaign.

Giving his evidence first, the younger defendant said he accidentally triggered one of the bombs when he opened a cupboard in the apartment.

"I was stunned and threw it into the corner, believing it was a smoke bomb," the wheelchair-bound suspect said via a translator, adding he grabbed two other bombs and ran outside to throw them into a nearby canal.

He did not refer to the fourth device.

Prosecutors accuse Moradi of hurling one bomb at a taxi and a second at two police officers as they approached him on the street, but it instead detonated near the suspect.

The defendant gave a different version of events saying he dropped one of the devices near the taxi by mistake, and tried to throw the other away as the policemen approached fearing it would detonate and hurt them.

"I knew if the police stopped me I'd have to drop the bomb which may have endangered them and people nearby.

"So I threw it about a meter in front of me," he said, adding he blacked out and woke up at hospital later to find his legs had been torn off in the blast.

Fellow defendant Khazaei, who smiled and gave a two-finger victory sign to the waiting press as he arrived from prison for the hearing, is due to give testimony after his alleged accomplice.

The pair have already pleaded not guilty to charges including attempted murder and possessing explosives.

"The penalty for attempted murder and possessing explosives... will probably be quite severe but we will fight every charge," their lawyer Kittipong Kiattanapoom told reporters earlier outside the court.

In June last year a Malaysian court ordered the extradition to Thailand of another of the Iranian suspects, Masoud Sedaghatzadeh.

Sedaghatzadeh was arrested at Kuala Lumpur's international airport a day after the Bangkok blasts. Two other suspects are believed to have returned to Iran.

The trial continues.
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