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Thai court jails Iranian pair over botched bomb plot

By Peter Shadbolt, CNN
August 22, 2013 -- Updated 0912 GMT (1712 HKT)
Saeid Moradi, 29, (center) gestures to the media next to Mohammad Khazaei, 43, ahead of their sentencing.
Saeid Moradi, 29, (center) gestures to the media next to Mohammad Khazaei, 43, ahead of their sentencing.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Iranians jailed over botched February 2012 bomb attack
  • One man sentenced to life in prison, the other to 15 years jail
  • Saied Moradi, 29, lost both legs in the attack when he hurled a bomb at police
  • Israel says the failed bomb plot was aimed at its diplomats. Iran denies involvement

(CNN) -- Two Iranians were convicted in a Bangkok court Thursday over a botched bomb plot last year that resulted in one losing both of his legs as he hurled an explosive device while trying to escape arrest.

Saied Moradi, 29, was found guilty of attempted murder, causing explosions and violating gun laws, and was sentenced to life imprisonment, Thai police spokesman Phanom Chuathong told CNN.

Muhammad Khazaei, 43, was sentenced to 15 years jail for causing explosions and causing damage to public and private property.

Israel has maintained the explosives were part of a plot aimed at assassinating Israeli diplomats in Bangkok — a claim Tehran has refuted.

Both men -- who were charged with criminal rather than terrorism offenses -- denied any involvement in a plot, saying they were unaware of explosives in their home.

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The court also demanded the two men pay reparations valued at around 2 million baht ($62,300) to compensate for the damage caused.

Thai authorities said five suspects escaped from a villa in the Thai capital following the blast, two of whom are still on the run. Moradi was injured when he detonated two bombs -- one when a taxi driver refused to give him a ride and another when he tried to throw a bomb at police officers as they closed in on him.

The court heard that Khazaei ran out of the house after the first explosion and headed to the airport where police arrested him at the boarding gate. A third man, Masoud Sedaghatzadeh, managed to board a plane to Malaysia.

Chuathong told CNN the court ruling would "certainly have an impact on the High Court of Malaysia's decision on the extradition request from Bangkok." Zadeh has been in custody in Malaysia since last year, pending a High Court decision on his extradition to Thailand.

At the time of the blasts, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "Iran is a threat to the stability of the world. They are targeting innocent diplomats.

"The international community has to denounce the Iranian actions and to indicate red lines concerning the Iranian aggression."

Ramin Mehmanparast, a spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, responded by condemning the blasts on Iran's state-run Press TV in an article on its website, but added: "Israeli agents are often the perpetrators of such terrorist acts."

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