Court issues warrant for bomb suspect Prosecutors in push to extradite Iranian

Prosecutors say they will send a request to the Foreign Ministry to extradite an Iranian bombing suspect from Malaysia within a week.

Wanchai Rujanawong, chief of the Office of the Attorney-General's Foreign Affairs Department, said the request to extradite Masoud Sedaghatzadeh was imminent.

The Criminal Court has approved the warrant for Mr Sedaghatzadeh's arrest in connection with bomb explosions on Sukhumvit Soi 71 on Feb 14. He was detained by Malaysian authorities a day after fleeing Thailand.
Mr Wanchai said the request will be forwarded to the Foreign Ministry for submission to the Malaysian authorities.

It is reported that the extradition of the Iranian suspect is likely to be based on a reciprocal agreement with Malaysia.

Pol Col Sunthorn Khemaprapa, deputy chief of Metropolitan Police Division 5, said the Criminal Court has approved the warrant for the arrest of a fifth suspect.

The warrant issuance is based on the suspect's photo recorded by a surveillance camera near the bomb blasts.

A police source said witnesses confirmed the man was frequently seen at the house where the first bomb exploded in Sukhumvit Soi 71 one week before the bomb blasts and that he went out from the house at 7am on Feb 14, about seven hours before the bombs exploded.

He was suspected of training other suspects to assemble bombs.

However, Pol Col Sunthorn said it could not be confirmed if the suspect in question is Nikkhahfard Javad as was previously reported.

He said police investigators will today ask immigration authorities to hand over bomb suspect Mohammad Khazaei, 42.

Mr Khazaei was arrested at Suvarnabhumi airport on Feb 14 and has remained in the custody of immigration officials.

He declined to give more details about the confiscation of a motorcycle near the explosion site.

The find has triggered speculation that the motorcycle might have been intended for use in a bomb plot.

He said he was at the house but denied any involvement with the bombs.

Pol Col Sunthorn said national deputy police chief Pansiri Prapawat will chair a meeting of investigators today.

Democrat spokesman Chavanond Intarakomalyasut yesterday called on the government to take the possibility of terrorism seriously.

"I'd like to see the prime minister and concerned ministers make it a national agenda item," he said.

He also urged cabinet members to be careful when making comments on the issue to avoid dragging Thailand into a conflict.

He said the bomb blasts should not be trivialised.

"Some cabinet members compared the suspect with vocational students engaged in a brawl," he said. "Don't make it sound like a trivial matter."

Meanwhile, a Muslim academic yesterday urged the Thai government to tread with care, saying the country could be drawn into an international conflict.

Sulaiman Husainee, director of Al Mahdi Institute, said pressure would be mounting after Thailand recognised the right of Palestinians to an independent state. "I'd like to urge security authorities not to dance to the tunes of the United States and Israel," he said.

The Feb 14 explosions were linked to recent blasts in India and Georgia with the Israeli government saying its top diplomat was among the targets and blaming Iran for the blasts. The Iranian diplomatic mission in Bangkok, however, denied Iran was involved.

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