Malaysia to extradite Iranian blast accused to Thailand

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Kuala Lumpur, Jun 25: A Malaysian court today approved the extradition of an Iranian national to Thailand on suspicion of involvement in a triple bomb blast in Bangkok this year, even as India is keen to have all evidence linked to the suspect.

Masoud Sedaghatzadeh, was arrested at Kuala Lumpur's airport on February 15, after he fled Thailand a day after the triple bomb blasts and is among three Iranians being held over incidents that saw Iran being accused of a terror campaign against Israel, a charge which Tehran denies.

India was also keen to get Sedaghatzadeh extradited for the probe into the bombing of an Israeli embassy's vehicle in New Delhi in February.

But Malaysian government had made it clear to Indian authorities that Sedaghatzadeh would not be extradited to India as Thai authorities had already made request for him. India is in the process of sending Letters Rogatory to Malaysia for sharing all evidence and statement of Sedaghatzadeh.

Criminal sessions court judge here S Komathy described Sedaghatzadeh, 31, as a "fugitive criminal," and said she disagreed with defence arguments that there was no evidence against him.

"In my view, the conduct of the respondent is inconsistent with that of an innocent man," she said. "The prosecution has shown that the respondent is a fugitive criminal...as he is wanted by the Thai police for offences which come within the definition of extradition offences," she said.

"I'm allowing the application for extradition and the respondent is to be detained in prison pending an order from the minister (of home affairs)," she added.

Sedaghatzadeh told the hearing through an interpreter that he would appeal to the high court against the extradition.

"I require more time to defend myself," he said. The alleged plot came to light in Thailand after an accidental explosion at a house in central Bangkok where three Iranians were allegedly making bombs.

PTI

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