Updated at 8:42 a.m. on 2018-05-02
A court in Thailand’s Deep South has sentenced six men to death for their roles in an October 2016 bombing that killed a woman and injured 21 other people at a local night market, a legal aid group said Tuesday.
The bomb exploded near a noodle stall at the market in Muang, a district of insurgency-hit Pattani province, killing the 60-year-old woman. Children were among the injured.
A court in Pattani convicted and handed death sentences on Monday to six of 10 suspected insurgents in custody over the bombing, according to the Muslim Attorney Center Foundation, which provided the defendants with legal representation.
Sentenced to death were Ibroheng Yuso, Amree Lueyo, Santi Chantarakul, Ayub Polee, Isma-ae Tuyong, and Nironing Niday, the foundation said.
Three others – Abdulloh Haye-uma, Ruslan Waehayee and Masan Salae – saw their death sentences commuted to life in prison because they had provided information to investigators that led to the prosecutions. Another suspect, Hamit Jehma, was sentenced to 40 year.
The authorities did not say whether these men belonged to any particular insurgent group but security officials had said previously that the violence in the south was being driven by Barisan Revolusi Nasional, or groups such as BRN.
“The bomber hid a … bomb at the noodle stall earlier and detonated it later,” Col. Pramote Prom-in, a spokesman for the regional branch of the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC), told reporters at the time of the blast.
“There were two suspects on a motorcycle parked in front of the noodle stall, pretending they were customers.”
Police said the suspects left a 44-pound (20-kg) bomb in the eating area near the stall before fleeing the scene. It was detonated remotely using a mobile phone.
The bombing occurred on the 12th anniversary of the Oct. 25, 2004, Tak Bai incident where 85 detainees suffocated to death in a police truck after they were reportedly stacked inside like logs. The detainees were arrested while protesting outside a police station in Tak Bai, a district in neighboring Narathiwat province.
On Tuesday, the chairman of the Muslim Attorney Center Foundation in Pattani said the foundation helped defend the 10 suspects, adding the verdicts read on Monday were based on the confession of one of the suspects who was sentenced to life in prison. Relatives could decide to appeal the convictions.
Close to 7,000 people have been killed since a separatist insurgency reignited 14 years ago in the predominantly Malay and Muslim Thai Deep South.