BANGKOK (AFP) – Thailand confirmed yesterday it had returned three Iranians jailed over a 2012 bomb plot in Bangkok, in an announcement that came after Tehran freed an Australian-British lecturer imprisoned for alleged spying.
The kingdom’s corrections department said two of the men – Masoud Sedaghatzadeh and Saeid Moradi – were transferred as prisoners while the third, Mohammad Khazaei, was granted a royal pardon in August.
Thai officials have not explicitly linked the transfer with the release of Middle East scholar Kylie Moore-Gilbert, who returned to Australia after two years in detention in Iran on espionage charges.
But Iranian state TV said on Wednesday that Moore-Gilbert was swapped for three Iranians.The trio freed by Thailand had all been jailed over a botched bomb plot that Israel linked to a spate of attacks on its diplomats around the world.
The plot came to light on February 14, 2012 when a huge explosion ripped the roof off a house in suburban Bangkok after bombs apparently detonated accidentally inside.
Moradi threw a bomb at police as he fled the scene but succeeded only in blowing his own legs off, while Khazaei made it to the airport before being apprehended.
In 2013, a Bangkok court jailed Moradi for life for attempted murder and sentenced Khazaei to 15 years for possession of explosives.
Sedaghatzadeh fled to Malaysia before being extradited some years later. Details of his conviction and sentence were not immediately available.